What makes these Family Concerts sensory friendly?
We have designed these performances to serve children and families with sensory sensitivities. Through our partnership with the University of South Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), we are making the whole experience (preparation, Musical Playtime, and performance) sensory friendly through the following means:
The concert will essentially be the same as any other Family Concert. Our aim is to create a safe and accepting environment where children on the autism spectrum and their families can experience a high-quality artistic performance. Lighting and any amplified sound will be mid-level, and the house lights will remain on. Musical Playtime may be more limited so as to reduce noise and activity levels. Social experience stories and information about our instrument petting zoo are available for sensory-friendly performances to help children prepare for the outing, from start to finish.
Musician, Staff, and Volunteer Training
Our musicians, staff members, and volunteers will be trained before the performance. We are working with local experts in sensory sensitivities and professionals from CARD so that everyone involved understands the needs of children and families with autism and related disabilities and can best serve them during TFO performances.
We want to give children the experience of a typical performance and help them grow in learning concert etiquette, and we understand that many children may need to get up, move around, or leave during the performance (please note that performances are approximately 40 minutes with no intermission). Each venue will have a quiet space where children may take a break from sensory stimuli. They are also free to use fidget toys, which we will have available along with earplugs, and electronics in a therapeutic capacity. Patrons are welcome to bring manipulatives, cushions, and extra support objects to the concert. Extra volunteers will be present to assist audience members. There are no assigned seats, and you may select and visit your seat upon arrival.
Social Experience Stories
For our social experience story relating to our Instrument Petting Zoo, click here.
Are these performances open to everyone?
Yes! TFO’s sensory-friendly Family Concerts are designed for families of children in pre-K through 2nd grade with sensory sensitivities; however, we welcome anyone who feels that these concerts would serve their children, regardless of age or ability. These concerts are open to the general public, and anyone who purchases a ticket to a sensory-friendly Family Concert will be informed about what it means.