GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There is a lot to experience at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, but for some children, the experience can be too much. That’s why the center created Sensory Sundays. The second Sunday of every month is a special needs-friendly event that allows all children to enjoy the museum.
“We turn off a lot of the sounds because there’s some children that can’t deal with sound and things that are tactile,” said Lynn Meadows employee Josh Poirrier.
Poirrier volunteered at Lynn Meadows when he was in high school and now works for the center while he’s home from college.
“It’s so rewarding to me because (children with) special needs just has a spot in my heart, and I just love working with them,” said Poirrier. “It’s just really, it’s special to me just to see them smile. They’re the most loving people you’ll ever meet.”
The kids who came out this weekend found many things to keep their attention, from drums to pianos and more.
“He can be here without a lot of the other kids,” said parent Tina Greer. “The last time we came here, it was very loud and there were a lot of children. It was very exciting, but sometimes that can be overwhelming.”
Corina Allgood has two kids, one of whom is special needs, but she enjoys that both of her kids can come and enjoy themselves in a controlled environment.
“One of my kids has autism; the other one doesn’t,” Allgood said. “They tend to both actually get overwhelmed when there’s a lot of people.”
She has seen more organizations beginning to come around to special needs considerations.
“I think it’s great,” Allgood said. “I think that a lot of places are starting to get hip to the fact that people with autism have different needs. That doesn’t mean that they’re less capable, but that they just need something a little bit different.”
Poirrier was proud to be a part of what Lynn Meadows is doing to help special needs children.
“It’s really inclusive for them, and it shows them that they can be just like any other kid and play too, and it’s really special in that sense,” he said.