From the Editors
If you have a child with sensory issues, it can be a challenge to find fun places to go that offer a safe and welcoming environment.
But there are several places in the Champaign-Urbana area and beyond that make an effort to provide special accommodations for children with special sensory needs.
(If you know of any places that aren’t mentioned below, let us know so we can share with our readers!)
The Children’s Museum of Illinois in Decatur offers sensory friendly hours the first weekend of each month. On the first Saturday of each month from 9-10 a.m. and the first Sunday of each month from 12-1 p.m., the exhibits are turned down and the crowd is controlled. It’s a great time for families to visit the museum who have children with sensory processing disorder, autism, or other special needs. See our Mom Review of The Children’s Museum of Illinois here.
Savoy 16 Movie Theater offers Lights Up Sound Down once a month on Saturday mornings. This program offers families and children with Autism and sensory issues the opportunity to enjoy their favorite movies in a comfortable, sensory-friendly setting with the lights turned up and volume turned down in the auditorium. Start times vary due to the running time of features. Regular Matinee prices apply. *Dates and titles are subject to change. Confirm with theater five days before the date to make sure the theater has been booked with the movie.
Stephen’s Family YMCA and Larkin’s Place is a great place for children with special sensory needs. The building itself is very sensory-friendly. The cork flooring in the entryway was installed to dampen sound and the walls were kept neutral for low stimulation. There are also sensory rooms for members to use that include swings, a mini-trampoline, and a crash pad. Children must be supervised while in the sensory rooms. In addition, noise-reducing headphones are available at the front desk. Children with any special need are welcome to participate in any of the camps offered as well. (You’ll also want to mark your calendars for a sensory-friendly visit with Santa Claus this year!) For more on Larkin’s Place, see our post.
Chuck E. Cheese’s in Bloomington is now offering Sensory Sensitive Sundays. On the first Sunday of every month, the restaurant will be open from 9-11 a.m. for children with autism and other special needs. During that time, there will be reduced lighting and noise, food and games will be offered and trained and caring staff will be on site.
Champaign Urbana Special Recreation provides recreational programs and leisure activities for local residents with disabilities, including sensory disorders. This year, the CUSR is offering a sensory friendly Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 8. Registration is required and the deadline is April 5. The CUSR also offers sensory-friendly after-school programs, summer camps and spring break camps. For more on Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation, including 11 Essential Special Needs Resources in Champaign-Urbana , click here.
Do you know of a Sensory Friendly place in the Champaign-Urbana Area? Add it in the comments below!