It was a special evening at the Magic House Sunday night, where hundreds of families brought their children with autism to a sensory-friendly event.
The event was hosted by Easterseals Midwest, an organization that helps people with disabilities and children with autism. For many families, this was a rare opportunity to experience the Magic House in a safe way.
“If they come during the crazy busy times, their sensors are probably just completely overloaded. So they'll shut down and not be able to enjoy the Magic House,” explained Katy Havlik, who oversees family events for Easterseals Midwest. “And that’s really hard on the parents as well as the kids.”
She said events like this allow children with autism to enjoy the fun with fewer crowds and less stimulation.
Photos: The Magic House
“It’s really important because otherwise, they might not have that opportunity,” Havlik said. “We have families that have come here tonight who have never been able to bring their kids here.”
Latoya Elliott is one of those parents. Her 8-year-old son, Bryan, has autism and Sunday night was his first trip to the Magic House.
“He’s not overwhelmed, it’s not loud, [there are] not a lot of people, and he's happy,” she said, as Bryan explored different rooms.
“It’s just more of a relief for me to be around other moms who are experiencing the same difficulty that I experience,” she said.
"That’s the point of sensory-friendly night,” Havlik explained — to give parents and children with autism a fun evening to play, without worry.
“It’s a magical place, every kid should get to experience it,” she said.