Momentum is growing among businesses and institutions to offer more activities for those with disabilities. Here are some of the cultural, entertainment and recreational events available for families:
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
The arts center offers a Sensory-Friendly Performance Series as part of its Family Series, to make the theatergoing experience more available to those with sensory sensitivities and their families. The sound levels and lighting are reduced, and designated break spaces are available for those who might feel overwhelmed. Two shows have been set for the 2018 season, at the Samueli Theater: “The Gruffalo” on March 24 and “Shh! We Have a Plan” on April 14.
Aquarium of the Pacific
The aquarium in Long Beach plays host to occasional special evenings exclusively for families with adults or children with autism. The whole aquarium (except Lorikeet Forest) is open from 6 to 9 p.m. for guests to enjoy the facility in a more tranquil environment; it is closed to the general public. Admission is $7 per person (members and children under 3 are free). The aquarium’s next Autism Families Night is Nov. 12.
The Anaheim Hills theater offers one special “Relaxed Performance” for each show in its Theater for Young Audiences Series. It is specifically designed for kids with autism, sensory and communication disorders, learning disabilities and others who would benefit from a more relaxed environment. Minor changes may be made to some of the production’s technical elements, and the house lights are dimmed instead of turned off. There also is a “relaxing and activities area” in the lobby for audience members who need to take a break. “The Secret Garden,” the theater’s next production in the series, is set for the 2017 holiday season.
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym
This gym, with a franchise location in Laguna Hills, has the motto, “Finally a Place Where You Never Have to Say I’m Sorry.” Open to all kids, the gym offers a motivational environment for kids on the autism spectrum to work on strength, movement, motor skills, sensory processing and social interactions. Open play time is available daily. (Call ahead to see whether it’s booked for a special event, especially on weekends.) There are swings, slides, a trampoline, a zip line and large play structure, as well as sensory toys and an arts and crafts…