Community outings can be such an enjoyable way to spend time as a family. From pools, to pumpkin patches, and even to the movies; community trips provide excellent opportunities to get out of the house in order to enhance knowledge, language, and sensory experiences.

While these events can be exciting and pleasurable, they may also cause anxiety and trigger big emotions. It is always helpful to have strategies in your back pocket…

  • It is helpful to go on an outing when your child is well rested. Be mindful of nap time.
  • Never underestimate the power of a snack! It may be a good idea to pack several snacks and types of snacks for your child to eat while out and about.
  • If your child uses an assisted communication device or pictures to communicate, make sure to bring these tools along.
  • It would be helpful to have regulation tools available. Think about noise canceling headphones, fidgets, and any other sensory items you will need for an outing.
  • It is a good idea to call ahead and ask if they have a place you can go for a break if needed.
  • Call ahead and ask for adaptive access.
  • Consider the time you are going. Would it be better to go earlier in the morning or later in the day?

It is helpful when places in the community assist with providing supports so that you can feel a little bit better when taking your little one out and about. Here are a few places in the community that already have supports in place:

Wisconsin Dells

  • The Dells has a program that helps provide opportunities for individuals who have disabilities. They create solutions to adaptive challenges.

Madison Children’s Museum

  • The Madison Children’s Museum provides a family access admission rate in which a child who has an IEP or who is in a birth-3 program can get into the museum at a discounted rate. They also have quiet rooms in the museum that can be used if needed.
  • They also offer sensory-friendly museumn nights, click here to learn more.

Marcus Point Cinema

  • Marcus Point Cinema, in Madison, provides a program called Reel Movies for Real Needs. This is a special showing for individuals who benefit from a welcoming and comfortable environment-lower sound, lights-up. For specifics on movie times and dates please check out:

Schuster’s Farm

  • This farm has a wagon ride that is able to accommodate a wheel chair.

Synergy Dance Academy

  • Every Saturday from 9-9:45 am Synergy Dance Academy, in Madison, holds a free dance class for children who have developmental differences and who are in between the ages of 4-10.

Busy Barn’s Adventure Farm

  • This farm, located in Fort Atkinson, has an accessible hay wagon.

Discovery Center

  • This Rockford Children’s Museum is accessible and has private rooms for children who may need some quiet time or a break. They also offer use of visuals and a social story to accommodate everyone!

Written By:
Ashley Verbick, COTA/L