Some little ones have special needs when it comes to playing and the way they respond to their environments.
Some little ones have special needs when it comes to playing and the way they respond to their environments. Children with autism, sensory issues, or anxiety may have trouble enjoying traditional family activities and play. We’ve compiled a list of sensory friendly events throughout the city to explore with your special little ones.
If you’re seeking a thoughtful gift for a family with a special needs child, consider getting them a GiftYa to one of the wonderful venues below to use at their sensory friendly events. With GiftYa you can purchase gifts to nearly anywhere and send their to the recipient right through your phone via text. The best part is there’s no gift cards to lug around, as it synchs up to you debit card for easy spendings.
Pittsburghkids.org | (412) 322-5058
Northside | 10 Children’s Way
The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is a nationally recognized museum for children. It’s a delightful experience for all children ready for fun, hands on learning. They offer a sensory friendly afternoon which occurs the second Tuesday of every month. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Sensitivities can enjoy a fun, friendly experience in a comfortable and accepting environment. Announcement and exhibit sound volume will be reduced, and sound reducing headphones will be available.
Carnegiesciencecenter.org | (412) 237-3400
Northside | One Allegheny Avenue
At any visit to the Carnegie Science Center noise cancelling headphones and sunglasses are available for visitors to borrow at no cost, on a first-come, first-served, basis. But the museum also offer various Sensory Friendly hours throughout the year. Pittsburgh museum for family fun with hands on exploration and exhibits. On March 17th, June 16th, and October 20th 2019, sensory science hours are from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The Science Center’s Sensory Friendly Science Hours will have modified exhibits throughout the Center. Lights have been adjusted in numerous exhibits including the Miniature Village and Railroad. Noisy exhibits like the “Air Hockeybot” in Roboworld will be turned off or have their sounds reduced. Other exhibits that have been modified are the “Rock-topus Reaction Challenge” in Sportsworks, the “Button Wall” in the Early Learner’s Clubhouse, the Rocket Launchers in Space Place on the First Floor, and “Can My Eyes Fool My Brain” in BodyWorks. In addition to the modified exhibits, the Science Center also creates tactile exhibits during these special hours.
amctheatres.com | (412) 462-6550
Multiple Pittsburgh Locations
AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where they turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Their Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) of every month. Check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes.
Pbt.org | (412) 281-0360
Various Performances Throughout the Year
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is proud to offer sensory-friendly performances for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities or other special needs. Shows are available throughout the year. These performances feature a friendly, supportive environment for families with a loved one with special needs. Adaptations to the performance are slight, including lower sound levels, elimination of potentially startling special effects and lighting, and house lights on at about 20%. They also relaxed the house rules- so you are free to get up, move around, and leave whenever you need to and allowed use of iPads and other electronics for therapeutic uses. They provide volunteers scattered throughout the theater to assist and direct audience members as needed, quiet areas and activity areas in the lobby for taking a break, and fidget objects and ear plugs.
FlightFitnFun.com | (412) 564-0560
Sensory Friendly Jump 1st and 3rd Tuesday 6-8pm
There’s so much to explore in this indoor adventure park for all ages that features trampolines, ninja warrior courses, dodgeball, climbing structures, laser mazes, ice skating, virtual reality games, and so much more! For those who prefer a quieter, less intimidating environment, they reserve the park on the first and third Tuesdays of every month from 6-8pm to provide a sensory-friendly atmosphere with calmer music and lower lighting.
PittsburghSymphony.org | (412) 392-4900
Various Performances Throughout the Year
Each year, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra hosts a sensory friendly performance that is customized especially for those with autism spectrum disorders or who have other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities. In addition to their annual sensory friendly concert, all Fiddlesticks and Schooltime concerts also have sensory friendly accommodations available.
Modifications typically available at sensory friendly performances include:
PittsburghCLO.org | (412) 281-3973
Use the power of drama to help with teaching social skills, body language, and the mechanics of social interactions. The CLO Academy’s New Horizons Program offers classes for children on the Autism Spectrum that are staffed with qualified and experienced teaching artists, this program also features a compassionate and creative instructors for a safe and nurturing environment.
CarnegieLibrary.org | (412) 921-1717
Have your child with developmental disabilities build their early literacy skills by interacting with stories, songs, and activities that will engage with all the senses. Caregivers, children, and their peers will interact in a calm, supportive environment. Each month a different location hosts the Storytime: Sensory Discover event.
It can be challenging to find fun family activities when your child has special sensory needs, but fortunately Pittsburgh has several special venues and events for these families to enjoy. If you know a family like this, gifting them tickets to one of these venues or events will surely be appreciated!