Exposure to new experiences is so important for developing and generalizing skills in children, especially those with special needs. However, it may not seem easy to think of where to go and how to create these new learning experiences. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to become involved in the community so these new skills can be practiced on a more regular basis!
Choosing Your Community Outing
Deciding where you want to go is probably the hardest step. Think about your child’s interests. Does he/she like animals? Look into local farms. Does he/she like trains? Look for a train station.
It is important to keep your child’s likes/dislikes in mind when first choosing a new experience. As time goes on, newer experiences can be introduced.
Places to Go
- Grocery store
- Animal breeder
- Pet store
- Dog training school
- Train station
- Community garden
- Science center
- Movie theater
- Bowling alley
- Jump park
Sensory Friendly Activities in Connecticut
Many places offer sensory friendly events for children with special needs, offering dim lighting, lower volume, and less crowds. Check out these places for specific times and locations of these events!
- Sky Zone – multiple locations
- Chuck E. Cheese – multiple locations
- AMC Theaters – Danbury, Plainville
- Regal Cinemas – Branford
- Connecticut Science Center – Hartford
- Godspeed Musicals – East Haddam
Before You Go…
- Educate others about your child’s unique behaviors. For example, let them know that your child screaming may be a way for he/she to show happiness and excitement.
- Be sure to contact your destination beforehand in order to explain your situation. Giving a heads up will help to ensure all accommodations and needs are met appropriately in order to create a smooth, positive experience.
Keep in mind the reason why you are going on this community outing.
Would you like to introduce a new experience?
Are you working on generalizing skills?
Are you trying to build new skills?
Talk about the things you are doing.
Get the family involved.
Make these experiences memorable!
For more tips and resources, visit:
Information Compiled by Melissa Lavorgna, MOT, OTR/L
This information is also available as a downloadable handout.