Autism-Friendly Activities for the Greater New Orleans Area

Mar 16, 2023

Autism is a condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide, and the Greater New Orleans area is no exception. People with autism are truly incredible individuals with unique talents, perspectives, and abilities that can enrich our world in countless ways.

However, the challenges that come with autism can make it difficult to participate in some activities that may be easier for neurotypical individuals. For example, sensory processing difficulties can make loud or crowded environments overwhelming, while social communication challenges can make it challenging to form and maintain relationships with others. Despite these barriers, it is important to recognize that individuals with autism have much to offer and can benefit greatly from inclusive environments that celebrate their strengths and support their needs. Fortunately, there are a variety of autism-friendly activities available in the Greater New Orleans area that offer opportunities for individuals with autism to socialize, explore their interests, and build new skills.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best local autism-friendly activities in the Greater New Orleans area, from sensory-friendly museums to inclusive summer programs and more.

Chuck E. Cheese Sensory Sundays

Chuck E Cheese has introduced a new program called Sensory Sensitive Sundays that provides a sensory-friendly environment for children with autism and other sensory processing disorders. There are 6 locations in Louisiana that participate in the program. You can find the locations here.

Louisiana Children’s Museum Sensory-Friendly Playtime

Check out the sensory playtime at the Louisiana Children’s Museum! This program is designed specifically for children with sensory sensitivities and offers a safe and welcoming environment where they can play, explore, and learn. The museum staff is specially trained to work with children with sensory processing differences and is always available to provide guidance and support.

The WWII National Museum of New Orleans Sensory-Friendly Mornings

Who says that kids are the only ones who need sensory-friendly activities? This activity is for all ages, but may be geared more toward adults than children. The National WWII Museum provides an engaging environment for individuals with sensory sensitivities through its Sensory Friendly Mornings program on the last Saturday of each month. This program offers early access to the museum’s exhibits and galleries, allowing participants to explore and learn in a comfortable and welcoming setting as they lower the noise level of certain exhibits and lower the lights on others.

The Historic New Orleans Collection Museum Sensory Saturdays

The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum and research center in the heart of New Orleans. They offer Sensory Friendly Saturdays for families and children with sensory processing differences. During these special events, the museum is modified to create a low-stress, sensory-friendly environment with reduced noise and light levels, and minimal crowds, and there are also designated quiet rooms and sensory-friendly activity stations available.

The 18th Annual Autism Festival

With 18 years running, you’ve probably heard of the ASGNO Autism Festival, but if you haven’t attended yet, this is an absolute must! The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans (ASGNO) is hosting its annual Autism Festival on April 22, 2023, from 11 am to 3 pm at the Westwego Farmer’s Market. The event is a major fundraiser for the organization, which uses the funds to empower, educate, and support the New Orleans Autism community. We promise you won’t regret it!

Knock Knock Children’s Museum

The Knock Knock Children’s Museum in Baton Rougeprovides full access to their interactive exhibits for visitors with sensory differences, including resources such as Braille picture books, weighted lap blankets, and a Quiet Cabin for children to take a break from the busy action. It’s an interactive museum for all kids to learn and have fun while doing it!

AMC Sensory-Friendly Films

AMC Theatres offer sensory-friendly movie showings for individuals with special needs. These showings feature brighter lights, lower sound, and a welcoming environment where guests can feel comfortable and included. The theater offers showings every second and fourth Saturday of the month for families and Wednesday evenings for more mature audiences.

We Rock the Gym

We Rock the Spectrum in Lafayette, LA is a sensory-friendly gym that provides a safe and fun environment for children with special needs to play and explore. We love their motto, “Finally a gym where you never have to say I’m sorry.” The gym features a variety of equipment and activities designed to enhance sensory integration, physical development, and social interaction.

Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute located in New Orleans has led the way in offering sensory-friendly experiences for its visitors. This includes weighted lap bands, sensory bags, quiet zones, headphone zones, wheelchair accessibility, service animals, and an inclusive playground at the park. They are not only passionate about being inclusive to their guest, but continue ongoing professional development with their staff to create a welcoming and safe environment for all.

Sky Zone

Sky Zone located in both New Orleans and Metairie provides Sensory hours for its guest. This includes quieter, toned-down jumping experiences. You can check with the specific locations for days and times.

What Are You Waiting For?

Sensory-friendly activities provide a supportive and inclusive environment where individuals can feel comfortable being themselves, making connections with others, and having fun. It’s heartening to see various organizations and venues recognizing the needs of the sensory community and providing inclusive opportunities for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out all of these activities and visit their websites to learn more. What are you waiting for? Go have some fun!