GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Every second Sunday of each month, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center hosts Sensory Sunday from 10 a.m. until noon to accommodate the needs of children who are on the autism spectrum and special needs.
The staff at the museum makes sure the lights are dimmed and little to no music is played, so all children can have a comfortable experience. Many families enjoy the event because it’s an interactive learning experience as well as inclusive.
“Parker has a sensory processing disorder, so crowds make her nervous and anxious. So, Sensory Sunday is good for her because it’s quiet, there’s not a whole lot of kids running around. She feels comfortable enough to play,” said Sloan Haywood.
Haywood believes other businesses should consider days set aside specifically for children with special needs because the child will feel comfortable and be able to relax and remain calm.
For some, this is their first time inside a play setting since the pandemic. Masks are required for children ages six and up, and Corina Allgood said she gradually introduced the mask to her son Jace.
“We worked on it for many months now, but for a long time, he wouldn’t wear a mask because of sensory processing. He has to touch everything. He wanted to touch his face,” Allgood said.
Allgood believes Sensory Sunday is not only for the children but also for the parents to interact with one another with no judgment.
“All of the parents who are here for Sensory Sunday, we also get each other. So another parent will be like, ‘oh nope let’s turn you around,‘ and we all understand each other,” she said.
To ensure safety in light of the pandemic, some activities are temporarily closed. Staff said the museum adjusts guidelines according to the CDC and the governor.