Happy Mother's Day weekend! I hope you're reading this in a pedicure chair somewhere. Last month was National Autism Awareness Month, and it was so inspiring to see the leaps and bounds we've made in our sensitivity and adaptation to kids with varying needs. We've scoured the county (and beyond!) in search of sensory friendly activities. Here's our short list:
But first, are you coming to the New York Baby Show next weekend? Want to come for half price? We have a limited amount of tickets available for the first few lucky clickers. $10 buys you tons of free samples, seminars, giveaways, and trials! Click here to purchase.
SENSORY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES AROUND WESTCHESTER
Bounce U is now offering a 2-week Sensory Bounce Therapy Camp for kids with autism, ADHD, and children with any motor and/or social difficulties that interfere with their ability to function in their home or school environment. Camp runs during the third and fourth week of August. The sessions are planned and implemented by an Occupational Therapist with the goal to strengthen physical and social skills while providing a supportive environment for kids to have fun. Drop your child off and attend the free parent support group that runs concurrent to camp. Click here for more info.
Yogashine in Valhalla is located near the Kensico Dam and has group and private yoga programs for special needs kids. They say, "Very often children's difficulties and/or limitations are manifest in their behavior and in their bodily expressions. Movement and creative play directly engages with their behavior, allows for immediate access to the problems, and provides tangible solutions. Parents are encouraged to participate when appropriate, and additional supportive services are available." Their special needs program is recommended for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, developmental disabilities, physical limitations, excessive aggression and depression. The summer schedule offers group yoga classes for kids with special needs on Mondays and Thursday from 4:15pm - 4:45pm. The 7-week program is $168. Click here for more info.
Rockin Jump in Ridge Hill offers a Sensory Friendly Bounce on the first Wednesday of the month from 6pm to 8pm. $18 covers two hours of jump time without the crowds or sound of TVs for a child and caregiver. Click here for more info.
If you're in Northern Westchester or need weekend morning jump times, Rockin’ Jump in Mount Kisco has a similar deal, only from 8am to 10am on the first Sunday of the month. TV and music will be turned off. Two hours of jump for one jumper and one caregiver is only $15. Siblings are welcome to attend for an additional $10 each. Click here for more info.
Bounce U in Elmsford also offers a Sensory Bounce once a week on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30pm. Click here for more info.
The Children's Museum
Stepping Stones Children's museum in Norwalk offers Accessibility Days to kids with all kids of special needs, including language and physical barriers. These free admission periods take place from 1:00pm – 5:00pm on the third Thursday of each month, with a sensory-friendly workshop called My Ability from 3:00 to 5:00. Kids can also come on Accessibility Day from 10:00am to 5:00 pm on the third Sunday of each month. Click here for more info.
Mickey Spillane's Pub in Eastchester has just announced a new Sensory Friendly Night. Taking place on Tuesday nights from 5:00 to 9:00pm in their secluded second floor indoor and outdoor space. It promises to be a quiet and tolerant spot to grab some dinner. Mickey's says, "We want every family to enjoy their dining experience, which is why here at Mickey Spillane's we will lower music, turn off TVs, turn up lights etc, which will make your dining experience more fun and less stress." Click here for more info.
A Day at the Movies
Alamo has recently revamped their Baby Day movie showings into a "Sensory For All" format. These special movie times are open to all ages, including infants, and to accommodate the crowd, lights will be brighter, sound will be quieter, moving around and noise is permitted, and latecomers will be tolerated. One BabyGotChat reader has taken her child and they both had a great time. She brings a portable high chair so she only has to buy one seat. You can also wheel your stroller for use as a movie seat for the little ones. Sensory For All happens on Tuesdays during the first show of the day for each movie playing. Click here for more info.
Regal Cinemas offer a My Way Matinee, which is a sensory-friendly showing where the lights are brighter and the sound is softer, but the New Roc City location is not on the list of participating locations (!).
AMC Loews in Port Chester has partnered with the Autism Society to offer a Sensory Friendly Film program, available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Click here for more info.
The following programs offer occupational therapies for scheduled therapy sessions. Kidabilities in Hawthorne provides evaluations as well as occupational, physical, and speech therapy for kids. Just Play Gyms in Larchmont and Pleasantville has sensory gyms and one-on-one therapy sessions for children.
Beyond Westchester: Head to Sesame Place!
Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA has recently become a Certified Autism Center, meaning that their team members receive training sensory awareness and other issues. While the entire experience of the amusement park might not be sensory friendly to every child, they have worked to develop a IBCCES Sensory Guide which provides insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense for rides and attractions. You can enroll your child in the Ride Accessibility Special Access Program which allows them priority access on rides, and download their Ride Accessibility Guide.
Guides with sensory needs are also encourage to check out two new Quiet Rooms installed in the park, or borrow Noise-Cancelling Headphones, available at The Family Care Center or Welcome Center.
There's also a new mascot, Julia, a "curious 4-year-old with autism." Julia made her debut in the park last season, and on TV Elmo and friends learn about how Julie does things, “in a Julia sort of way.” Julie is around the park for character meet and greats, but keep in mind she does stay true to character the entire time. We went with two over-eager 3 year olds and were held back from taking a picture with Julia because the kids were too ramped up. Julia's handler made sure we were calm and approached her gently and without too much noise. If kids are noisy, Julia and her handler move to a corner to wait it out till everyone calms down.
If you have a child who is too young to modify their behavior in a stimulating setting, you may want to focus on the other Sesame Street friends, but with a little pep talk, most kids will be just fine taking a photo. Meeting Julia at Sesame Place is a great way for kids to learn about empathy and how their behavior can affect others. Click here for more info.
That's it for this week! Don't forget about our weekly Mommy Meetup at Lil Chameleon from 10:30am to noon most Mondays. For our (almost always free) Event of the Day, follow us on Facebook or Instagram. And as always, check our website for events and our easy-to-navigate chart of every weekly kids library program in Westchester. Just be sure to check the date you wish to attend against the library's calendar, because many programs are wrapping up for the school year.
See you next time!