Summer has arrived in all its splendor.
School is out, ice cream trucks have hit the road, pools have opened and the great outdoors is begging your child to come and play. Summer also brings a change of schedule and leaves some parents scratching their heads and wondering: Now what? Planning ahead can help ensure a summer where the only meltdowns happening are of the ice cream variety. The great news is that there is plenty of summer fun around town for children with autism or sensory-processing differences.
Indoor Play Places
17219 Foundation Parkway, Westfield
Carter’s is passionate about creating an all-inclusive environment. Kids can explore swings, climbing equipment, a trampoline and more for $10 ($8 for siblings; siblings under 2 are free) or take part in scheduled classes. Planning to visit multiple times? They also offer punch passes and Adventure Unlimited Memberships. Open weekdays from 9:30am – 4:30pm and weekends from 10:00am – 6:00pm.
Head to any of these locations and jump with your child for free during the designated sensory hour. Sensory hour is on the first Monday of the month from 6:00 – 7:00pm at the Plainfield and the Southside locations. Visit the Fishers location website for info on their upcoming scheduled sensory hours. Children’s tickets are $8.
6590 South Indianapolis Rd., Whitestown
This fun indoor play space features a “Quite Zone,” complete with a sensory swing, where children with special needs can retreat. There is no entry fee.
AMC has partnered with Autism Society to provide families this unique theater experience. With the lights on and the sound turned down, your child has the freedom to walk, dance, talk or sing. Visit an AMC theater on the second and fourth Saturday of every month for a family-friendly film.
The Monon Community Center: 1195 Central Park Dr. West, Carmel
Open Flow: The FlowRider is a special wave machine that is similar to boogie boarding in the ocean. Staff can adapt instruction, making it possible for anyone to ride the wave. All ability levels are welcome to participate. Must be 48 inches to ride and 52 inches to stand. Adaptive Open Flow is designed for individuals with disabilities. Open Flow takes place every Monday from 7:15 – 8:45pm, June through August.
Open Swim: During Adaptive Open Swim, the music is off and the concession stand is closed so families can enjoy an evening at The Waterpark free of distraction. The main activity pool, slides and lazy river will be open and the cost is just $15 per family. Pre-registration is required. Open Swim takes place June 11 and 25; July 9 and 23 from 7:30 – 9:30pm.
These are just a few of the sensory-friendly experiences offered in the Indianapolis area. Many places — such as Conner Prairie, Chuck E. Cheese, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum, and parks such as Rhodius Park, Independence Park and Freedom Trail Park — offer accommodations to help make the experience sensory-friendly and fun for everyone.