Question: I’ve scheduled my nine year daughter who has special sensory, communication and motor needs for summer camp, but I am still looking for some ideas for fun outings/activities she can enjoy with her older and younger siblings for the summer. Any ideas?
Answer: YES! Here are five ideas for some sibling fun when one of those siblings has special needs-
1. Create and Grow with OT Flo
Sign your daughter and one (or more!) of her brothers/sisters up for Create and Grow with OT Flo at Pediatric Therapeutics, a program that combines OT and arts instruction, offering creative activities for kids of all abilities. It begins July 11, with two sessions, one running in July and the first week of August, and the other in August; groups meet once weekly There are still some spots open! Contact Julie Hersch, firstname.lastname@example.org, 973-635-0202 to learn more.
2. The American Museum of Natural History
Register in advance by calling 212-313-7565 or e-mailing email@example.com, and head into NYC early for an adventure at The American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, Manhattan. 212-769-5100 or amnh.org. The museum runs The Discovery Squad from 9 to 10 a.m. on select Saturday mornings (6/30, 7/14, 8/04 and 9/01), offering free 40-minute guided tours of museum highlights, as well as time to explore the Discovery Room before the museum opens to the public at 10 a.m. Families are welcome to stay after the tour and enjoy regular museum hours, too. Tours are geared toward ages 5 to 9 and 10 to 14. The museum also offers Science Sense Tours, for people who are blind or have partial sight, and Sign Language Tours, for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.
3. Chuck E. Cheese
Enjoy breakfast/lunch at one of twelve Chuck E. Cheese’s (chuckecheese.com) the first Sunday of every month, when the restaurant opens two hours early (9AM) for “Sensory Sensitive Sundays,” with reduced lighting and noise, food, games and a trained staff. The East Hanover and Union restaurants are closest for most of us.
4. Sesame Place
Visit Sesame Place (sesameplace.com) , the first theme park in the world to become a Certified Autism Center, as designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. Located at 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, PA
215-702-3566, Sesame Place offers guests with autism specially trained staff, ride accessiblity, quiet rooms and low sensory areas, access to noise-canceling headphones, and assistance in making dining and watching the parade more suitable for ASD needs. Julia, the character with autism on “Sesame Street” will also be at the park greeting children.
5. AMC Movie Theatre – Mountainside
Check the movie schedule at the AMC movie theatre in Mountainside (amctheatres.com) and go to a movie. On the second and fourth Saturdays of the month films that are sensory friendly and for all ages are shown.
Looking for more? Check https://www.app.com/story/entertainment/events/2018/04/03/places-autism-friendly-entertainment/479072002/. Many of the ideas on this site will be fun for all.
–Sheila Allen, MA, OT