Image: Walker Art Center, Minnesota

Sensory-friendly Sundays for autistic children in US ‘Twin Cities’

Image: Walker Art Center, Minnesota

The US city of Minneapolis is now hosting a monthly ‘sensory-friendly Sunday’ event aimed solely at children, teenagers and other family members who are autistic.

It’s an attempt to enable those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, or other sensory sensitivities, to make art together in a relaxed environment, explore art, watch films or just enjoy the company of each other.

Twin Cities

Leading the initiative is the Walker Art Center in central Minnesota, which has been working with various partners to provide the Twin Cities – the city of St Paul being its near-neighbour – with its first art-focused, sensory-friendly program in a museum. It has been made possible thanks to funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Ellie Wilson, executive director of the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), told the local StarTribune newspaper: “It’s about embracing that the accommodation is not just physical, but is also social/emotional. No two autism spectrum cases are the same, and there’s a misconception that sensory-friendly just means ‘dimming the lights’. But some kids on the spectrum love bright lights and noises.”

Author: Simon Weedy

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