This month is National Autism* Awareness Month and I wanted to share with you a few places where families in our community may enjoy visiting, especially if a child has a hard time being around other people and if they are sensitive to sounds and lights.
Here are a few examples of places to check out:
Sensory Gyms – a sensory gym is designed to provide input to a child’s sensory system that includes tactile (touch), vestibular (movement), and proprioceptive (muscles/joints) input. There are sensory gyms throughout Massachusetts – they are great places for children to go and get some physical activity and learn some new skills!
The Movies – AMC Theatres offers Sensory Friendly Films on certain days of the week in in Massachusetts. The closest theatre for showings is AMC Framingham 16. AMC Theatres has partnered with the Autism Society to offer these unique movie showings where autistic children can feel free to be themselves. Their website says, “We turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing!” Sounds like fun! More information, including dates and times, can be found here: amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films.
Nature Walks – children with autism may benefit from new sensory experiences in nature, such as the sounds of birds and animals, the smell of flowers and the touch of plants. So find some walking trails and go out for a walk on a regular basis. You can find new trails at: visit-massachusetts.com/state/walking-and-hiking/. The Mass Audubon Society also has many wildlife sanctuaries to visit – see massaudubon.org/
Have more places to share that would be great for families with children with special needs? Feel free to comment!
*Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. Many people with ASD will have difficulties in social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. To learn more, visit autismspeaks.org.
About Michelle Dalal, MD
As a mother herself, pediatrician Dr. Michelle Dalal has learned a lot from raising her two children. “You learn a lot as a parent, particularly in the infancy and toddler stage on how to deal with things,” she explains. “I think being a parent makes a big difference in terms of how you treat pediatric patients. I get a lot of questions about immunizations, I get a lot of questions about how to make sure a child’s diet remains...View profile View posts by this doctor