Birthday Event #2, Autism Sensory Challenge

Today we are going to discuss a Birthday Party event we hosted for our Children for their Birthday and how we worked to accommodate Autism Sensory issues at the Roller Skating Rink.

This is the second large event we did for our children and was hosted at an Indoor Roller Skating Rink. If you read our previous post #1 about the Inflatable Jump House you can see why we intentionally broke the party into several phases or events (Listed Below):

1. Pre-Arrival Arrival Setup / Staff Briefing / Expectation Management

2. Guest Welcome

2. Registration (Parental Consent Forms, Gift Drop, Coat/Shoes Storage)

3. Skating Rink Orientation, Risk Briefing and safety device demonstration (Walk everyone through the events which will be done)(Demonstrate the roller skating beginner walkers)

4. First Skating Event – Play time (Approx 1 – 1-1/2 hours)

5. Second Event – Restroom Break / Hand Washing

6. Third Event – Birthday Party (Food Items), Cutting of the Birthday Cake, Presentation of gift bags for attendees

Critical Note: ** No gifts are opened at the event

7. Fourth Event – Restroom Break / Hand Washing

8. Departing of the guest

9. Cleanup and close of the account by the Host.

10. Remember to do you thank you notes and recognition cards as soon as possible.

The roller skating rink was a huge success and the children loved it as well as the parents. The chance for injury was greatly reduced by having the roller skating walkers for beginners. We made sure every child had a walker initially so that everyone felt, looked and operated the same. This was a great idea we learned from another family as children do get embarrassed if they cannot do an event with help. We were also able to rent the complete facility for a period of 3 hours to host the event. This was crucial as we could
get all the children into the facility and get them and parents settled, skate sizing completed before beginning the event. We ensured that various components of the facility was controllable and I will cover these topic areas we had to cover for our sensory population attending:

A. Lighting (Strobes and Blacklights) – This lighting issue is a show
stopper for about 70% of the folks who came to the facility for our
event. As we had the whole facility we were able to turn on regular
lighting and not have the other effects active such as the strobe
lights, black lights, and also the reduction of lighting (We had three participants who suffered from lack of light). This leads us directly
into our next concern.

B. Music – The usual loud music was able to be turned down to a level
comfortable for all the Children. The loud music was an issue for 90% of the folks who came to the facility for our event. As we could control the volume level it was very nice as we could have normal conversations among the children, parents and staff. We also played at least one favorite song that each child requested for. We obtained this information when we sent out the initial invites and received back as part of the RSVP process.

C. Staff / Parent / Oversight – As with every event the ratio of
Staff Members to Participants is key. During the total event we had four dedicated Staff Members to assist on the roller rink at any given time. The Staff member’s assisted as needed making it fun for the children. We worried about this as we still wanted kids to be able to be themselves, skate at their own pace and not feel rushed.

D. Party Area – Key Area of the event. We ensured that the Birthday
Party itself was conducted separately in a different area from the roller rink
portion of the event. Many of our event participants get very fixated on a certain event or schedule and wanted to go back to a previous activity. I do want to mention we also asked each parent to identify any food /
environmental or situational concerns that each family may have. We
requested and did get this information back from each family when we
sent out the invites. The information is received back as part of the
RSVP process.

I hope this Birthday Party event for tackling sensory issues is of assistance to you. We are currently working on our next post.

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