Last night, Special Needs Families were treated to a special night at the Philadelphia Phillies. Declan and I went and it was great. During this Special Needs Family Outings we sat with other special needs families. We supported one another. Declan must’ve changed seats 4 times in one inning. No one complained; everyone helped. When Declan started making sounds just to make sounds, no one stared. We were in a safe place. It was wonderful.
I love the special needs family outings that we go to. Every outing that is prepared for the special needs family has had such thought and care go into it, to help the family participate in an activity that they may not have otherwise been able to partake in. The sound is turned down, there are low sensory areas, characters do not approach people, yet wait to be approached. Really fantastic awareness of different needs. Here are some of our favorites to look out for!
AMC SENSORY FRIENDLY FILMS
Do you have an AMC near you? We do, and took Declan to his first movie this year during one of the AMC Sensory Friendly Films. He dressed in his Captain America outfit and enjoyed Hotel Transylvania 2. The lights were turned up, the volume was turned down. Declan moved around a lot. And it was all A-OK. Lots of people in the room were talking, moving – no big deal. There is so much support and understanding. We didn’t make it through the whole movie, but I feel it was a wonderful success! If not for the sensory friendly films, Declan would not be able to experience the big screen movie, popcorn, cinema outing.
The Variety Club
We are members of our local Variety Club. The Variety Club is fantastic. It provides information, resources and coordinates events for Special Needs Family’s to attend. We have gone to many events with the Variety Club, including Sesame Place, Adventure Aquarium and The Please Touch Museum for a couple of years now. All of these events are geared towards the special needs population and allow special needs families different outing opportunities for their special person.
MLB Autism Awareness Nights
The MLB has made a special night for each MLB team during Autism Awareness month. Declan got to go to his first MLB game this year. He loved it! Did he know there was a game going on? I don’t know. But he got to experience the ball park. The sound, the smells, the food, the atmosphere. And he loved it! Our family loved it too. The ushers let us move around our section and let us know they were there to help us if we needed anything. To have that kind of support is wonderful. We only made it though about 2 innings in our section, but it was worth it to have the opportunity!
Yes, Declan’s Special Education classroom, teacher, aid, therapists – they are all awesome. They recognize the need to plan and do a family event. This year they did a Family Style Carnival. The kids and I had a blast. Daddy couldn’t officially make it, but we knew he was there in spirit.
Taking your special person out can be very stressful. You may think you have thought of everything, that your special person is ready for the event you are taking them to, and then the unexpected happens. You hope that you have the support of caring people like Kelvin Moon Loh who wrote this after an Autistic boy interrupted a performance. Sometimes you don’t have that kind of understanding surrounding your family. Sometimes the surroundings are too loud, too crowded, to dark. So it is always nice to be on the lookout for Special Needs Family Outings available in your area. I know we are always looking!
How about you? What do you do?