Finding Sensory Friendly Environment
● By Digital Media Director
By: Rose Bickett, ‘Hood Magazine
Although, there are no exact specifications that make every environment sensory friendly for every individual’s needs, there are some general guidelines. To make something sensory friendly, one typically adjusts the visual, auditory, and olfactory stimulation to levels considered acceptable for the population that will be experiencing it. The hope is, for someone with special sensory needs, to have a manageable degree of sensory stimuli (sight, sound, and smell), which will help them be calmer, better able to process the sensory stimulation they receive, and more able to relate to others around them. Most importantly, and ultimately the big goal is for the child to experience joy in whatever the event.
For a sensory sensitive experience to be a success, the environment, and also the general public’s expectations for behavior at an event, are adjusted. For example, when attending a sensory friendly movie in a theatre, the sound would be turned down, the lights turned up, and one would be able to freely express themself with movement and vocalizations, without parental concern for disrupting a typical movie theatre environment. No worries- there’s no shushing at this movie environment!
Sensory Friendly spaces/events and services in the Sioux Empire:
~Bloom-1608 S Western Ave Sioux Falls,SD 57105
You can relax and watch your children learn through play on the indoor large motor sensory gym, or witness them using their imaginations at the tiny town all while you have the opportunity to talk with onsite specialist “hosts” ranging from school psychologists to Occupational Therapists, and more. (You may call ahead to schedule an appointment with a specific specialist)
~Chuck E Cheese- 2600 S. Louise Ave Sioux Falls, SD 57106
Sensory sensitive Sundays the first Sunday of every month when the store opens 2 hours early and features trained, caring staff, and reduced noise and lighting. The next event will be held Oct. 7 at 9am.
~Children’s Museum of South Dakota- 521 4th St Brookings, SD 57006
Sensory friendly play events every few weeks with a less crowded environment (limit of 100 guests), designated quiet rooms, adaptive equipment, adaptive art tools, and service animals welcome. The next event will be held Oct. 19 from 5-8pm.
~Here4Youth- 1721 West 51st Street Sioux Falls, SD 57105
After school (and summer) program offers services to all children while specializing in the provision of quality services to those with disabilities. Transportation options are available to and from some schools.
Also, offering SIBHOPS, which are FREE programs designed specifically for siblings (ages 6 to 12) who have a brother or sister with special needs.
~ Sioux Empire Mall- 5000 West Empire Mall Sioux Falls, SD 57106
Offers Seasonal sensory friendly visits with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, where they turn off music and dim the lights. Staff will also use a number-based queue system instead of a line and offer special activities during the wait. Appointments are even an option.
~South Dakota Parent Connection-
SDPC connects families caring for children (birth to 26) with known/suspected disabilities or special health care needs, to information, training and resources to meet the needs of their child and family
This often includes a monthly autism parent support group, a resource guide, and other educational offerings such as webinars and classes.
~Accelerate Center- 908 W 42nd St. Sioux Falls, SD 57105
(Paul)605-351-7976 or (Courtney) 605-212-3446
Accelerate is a small, non-profit organization which offers occupational and speech therapy services to children ages 2-6 with autism or other developmental delays emphasizing communication, peer interaction and play skills, daily living skills, fine motor skills and self-regulation and coping skills
~Yes Yoga One (Sheila Norman)- Yesyogaone.net
One on one yoga sessions for children, informed by ayurveda and with sensory programming woven into the practice.
Lifescape-2501 W 26th St Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Maybe you’ve wondered if your child has autism. Or, maybe you already have a diagnosis. Either way, LifeScape can help, providing screening, evaluations, and treatment. They have the expertise to help children gain communication, behavioral, social, sensory, and learning skills to grow up as independently as possible.