Accommodations are provided by keeping volume levels low and lighting soft. Noise-reduction headphones are available to use, as well as an adjacent “quiet room” with sensory manipulatives, in case audience members need a break from the concert environment. Additionally, PA (public address) systems are not be used in Sensory Friendly Concerts, and is considered an accommodation. Those with hypo-sensitivity to sound are encouraged to come up on stage during the performance, where the volume is louder. Additionally, they are welcome to sit around the musicians on stage and even lie underneath the grand piano, for optimal vibro-acoustic sensory input. Credentialed music therapists and other trained volunteers help to facilitate these musical interactions so that family members and caregivers can relax and enjoy the performances. Other provisions for promoting engagement with live music are foam blocks, for those who enjoy extra tactile symmetry to their listening experience, as well as scarves, for those who enjoy dancing or moving their bodies freely around the room.
Local jazz and classical performers are encouraged to be the headlining performing artists, trained by a credentialed music therapist on the non-stereotypic movements and behaviors that they may encounter, and encouraged to interact with audience members who may be on stage with them during the performance. Parents and caregivers are responsible for those whom they bring at all times, but our hope is that parents/caregivers can sit back, relax, and enjoy the performance, as well as to enjoy a social environment where their loved one and/or client can enjoy being in “autistic friendly space.”
Our mottos are:
- HAND FLAPPING ALLOWED!
- EQUAL RIGHTS TO THE FINE ARTS!
Consider this…have you ever been to a classical or jazz concert where the social norm is to sit perfectly silent (even with a tickle in your throat!) and to know when (and when not) to clap? Oh the torture!