On Your Health

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Sensory Sensitive Activities in Oklahoma City

Our senses allow us to interact with and enjoy the world around us, from seeing the colors of fresh spring flowers to hearing a friend’s laughter. People experience their senses to varying degrees and there are some, like children with autism, who suffer from extreme sensory sensitivity. This sensitivity extends not only to the five main senses but also to balance, movement and even pain. For children with this condition, every aspect of life can be a challenge. Noisy crowds, bursts of light and uncomfortable clothes are often overwhelming, and parents are left wondering what to do with their children outside of the house.

Luckily, some businesses in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas are working to create sensitive environments and accommodations so all families and children can participate. Here are six places to take your sensory sensitive children for fun, relaxing and educational activities.

Chuck E. Cheese in Norman: Sensory Sensitive Sundays

For the rest of 2018, Chuck E. Cheese will host Sensory Sensitive Sundays on the first Sunday of each month at many locations nationwide, including its restaurant in Norman right off I-35. On those days, the restaurant will open two hours early and will feature dimmed lights, softened music, sound effects and even visits from the iconic mascot himself.

Bronco Bowl Mustang: All Star Bowling

The Bronco Bowl in Mustang partners with Autism Oklahoma to create a fun and nurturing environment for sensory sensitive children to enjoy. Kids are encouraged to be themselves and bowl however they like, which means ramps and bumpers will be available for anyone. All Star Bowling happens at 11 a.m. every Saturday.

Oklahoma City Museum of Art: Booster Packs and Low Sensory Mornings

Museums are a great way for children to learn in a real-world environment, but they can also be overwhelming for kids with sensory sensitivity. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art wants to help by providing noise-canceling headphones and creating safe areas for families if guests need to rest away from the crowds.

The museum also hosts Sensory Friendly Mornings. The next one is at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 28. Until 11 a.m. you’ll find art projects and gallery activities all tailored for those with sensitive senses. For more specific information, contact the museum through its website.

AMC Theatres: Sensory Sensitive Films

Going to a movie can be an entertaining and relaxing, but the crowds, noises and loud music can have the opposite effect on someone with sensory sensitivity. That’s why, on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month, select AMC Theatres play sensory sensitive films. The lights will remain on in the theater and the sound kept low so no one gets overwhelmed. As a bonus, AMC will also feature sensory sensitive films on Tuesday nights for mature audiences. For specific showtimes and locations, visit the AMC website.

iFLY OKC: All Abilities Night

iFLY is an indoor skydiving facility that operates in Oklahoma City. iFLY hosts an All Abilities Night once every few months. All Abilities Night at iFLY is a unique event that makes the dream of flight a reality for those in the special needs community. The program has been designed for those with physical and cognitive challenges to create an environment of support and inclusion, while focusing on making what seems impossible, possible. Each flyer receives proper headgear and training beforehand as well as assistance and accommodations from a specially trained flight instructor. To learn more, stop by the iFLY OKC website.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Sensory Rooms and Kits

A sporting event is just about the last place someone with sensory sensitivity can feel comfortable, which makes things difficult for young enthusiasts. Luckily for Thunder fans, Oklahoma City has partnered with KultureCity, a nonprofit that seeks to broaden acceptance and accessibility for people living with sensory-processing issues, to offer resources to fans with autism, PTSD and other sensory challenges. Fans will be able to check out kits with noise-canceling headphones to mitigate sensory overload. In addition, the arena has created a space for fans who need a calm, quiet atmosphere related to sensory sensitivity. For more information, check out the OKC Thunder website.

For parents of children with sensory difficulties, it’s vital to find ways for them to interact with their world. It’s challenging to find fun activities that also cater to the specific needs of your kids, but it’s not impossible. And it’s getting easier as awareness and understanding grow. More resources are becoming available every year, such as the pediatric adventure loft at INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation. Read on to learn how the adventure loft makes therapy fun for everyone.

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