Take Your Special Needs Kid to a Sensory-Friendly Event on Autism Awareness Day
There are plenty of events happening statewide this Sunday
Photo courtesy of Noerr Programs
This Sunday, April 2, is Autism Awareness Day. What better way to enjoy the day with your special needs child than by having some fun together.
There are a handful of local spots hosting sensory-friendly events, meaning they’re calmer and especially suited for children on the autism spectrum. You can expect lower volumes, softer lighting and more freedom than at non-sensory-friendly events.
Sensory Sundays at Chuck E. Cheese
Starting Sunday, Chuck E. Cheese will host Sensory Sundays on the first Sunday of every month from 9-11 am. Special needs guests will be able to chow down on pizza and play games just like anyone else, but with smaller crowds, dimmed lights, no music or mascots and a trained staff. There are 14 NJ locations participating in this promotion, so there are plenty of options as to where you can take your family.
Caring Bunny Meet-and-Greets at Simon Malls
Simon Malls, 14 of which are in NJ, will have sensory-friendly visitation with the Caring Bunny in four locations and the same with Sensitive Bunny in one location this Sunday, both made possible by The Noerr Programs. This is perfect for special needs kids who may be overwhelmed by long lines and large crowds while waiting for photos with the Easter Bunny. This way, special needs kids can get a private, peaceful photo session with their favorite rabbit—minus the stress.
For Caring Bunny, head to Edison’s Menlo Park Mall, Lawrenceville’s Quaker Bridge Mall, Rockaway Townsquare or Toms River’s Ocean County Mall to reserve your spot at this free event from 9-11 am. For Sensitive Bunny, make your way to Brunswick Square Mall in East Brunswick from 9-11 am.
There are tons of special needs events going on at other times besides this weekend, too. AMC Theatres hosts family-appropriate Sensory Friendly Films on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month. But to celebrate Autism Awareness Month, AMC is offering a BOGO on Cameo size drinks when you buy a ticket to an April sensory friendly film (this month they’re showing Boss Baby and Smurfs: The Lost Village). There are 10 participating NJ locations.
Other upcoming sensory-friendly events around NJ include:
4/2, Access-Ability Resource Fair, Morris Museum in Morristown: parents will get valuable resources and information while kids can hang in the facilitated activity center, do an art project, watch a film and check out the museum’s galleries
4/22, Grug and the Rainbow, RVCC Theatre in Branchburg: this show was adapted from a popular Australian picture book series. Kids will love the puppetry and storytelling in a calm, just-for-them environment.
5/3, Turtle Dance Music, Hillsborough Library: a short show featuring music, bubbles and comedy, all turtle-themed. Kids will get to move and sing, along with hands-on and sensory experiences.
5/6, Cinderella, TCNJ Kendall Theater in Pennington: Roxey Ballet is putting on this stunning revival of a classic story the kids will adore. They’ll be mesmerized by the incredible score and choreography while at ease due to low lights and sound. Guests can also get up and move around whenever they feel they need to.