On Saturday, November 8th we held Music Matters: A Sensory-Friendly Community Event, which was the inaugural event for our pilot Music Therapy Program. This free event was designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other sensory processing differences. Many children with sensory processing differences find being still for long periods of time, big crowds, and dimmed lights overwhelming. This can make it difficult for them to participate in many performances and community events. At our Music Matters event we welcomed all participants and encouraged them to join together, make music, and connect.
Music Therapist Eric Ross (upper left) leads event participants in playing the community drum
Sensory Friendly events focus on making people with sensory processing differences feel welcome by creating a setting designed to make them more comfortable. These types of events are supported by the Autism Society, the Musical Autist, and those who want to promote neurodivesity. Our sensory friendly accommodations included limiting the number of attendees, keeping the lights on, keeping the event short in duration, allowing audience members to move around and make noise, and setting aside a designated “Take a Break Space” for those who needed time away from the group.
Participants making music together
Led by faculty member and Music Therapist, Eric Ross (MT-BC), the attendees used drums, shakers, their voices, and their bodies to participate in fun music making activities. Participants played name games, sang songs, created rhythms, and had fun. Many thanks to the volunteers from Northwestern University who helped ensure that participants were able to join in all music making activities.
Volunteer Sylvia Wright helps pass out instruments to participants
For more information about our Music Therapy programs and other upcoming sensory friendly events, please link to more information here or contact Natalie Butler at (773) 784-7032.
– Natalie Butler, Uptown Academy Director