The first Wednesday of each month, KidsQuest opens its doors to host a special Low Sensory Evening, where families of children with special needs are offered the opportunity to enjoy the museum at a time where the attendance is limited and the museum is “turned down.” Low Sensory Evenings are for anyone that can benefit from a calmer, quieter, and less stimulating experience. Whether that is a child with sensory processing disorder, or an adult who just needs a moment to enjoy a quiet evening with their child, this event is for you! The goal of this event is quite simply for the museum to be accessible to everyone. Once pre-registered for free, children, parents, and caregivers can all experience what we hope is a stress free evening, while having the opportunity to play and learn.
In 2015 KidsQuest started doing Low Sensory Evenings to try to help become more accessible to the community. Once I started taking on these events, and talking to so many parents of special needs children I realized there was an entire community of people we were not serving. Last year the museum started a yearly Low Sensory Event on a Sunday morning with many different partner organizations participating. I absolutely love working the Low Sensory Events, because so frequently I come across children that are having their first experience here at KidsQuest, and I get to help be a part of that. Some children cannot come during the day when it may be a little louder, so giving children that safe space is really important to me and to KidsQuest.
We understand that we cannot accommodate the needs of every child and simply getting to the museum can be a struggle. In an effort to make the museum accessible to all at all times, we have started offering low sensory bags. These are kept behind the front desk and may be checked out any time during a visit to the museum. They are filled with wonderful items such as fidgets, headphones, sunglasses, and a story introducing you to the museum- hopefully to help keep little ones happy during what can be a stressful or overwhelming time. The introduction of these bags is an effort to continue to be a whole family institution and hopefully make a trip to the museum easier at all times of the day- not just one evening a month.
While we offer these benefits, we are always looking for ways in which we can improve and grow. If you have suggestions in which we can be more accessible or what you would like to see happen at our Low Sensory Events, or even in our everyday operations of making our museum friendly to all children, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Jenn Boesenberg