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Art&Seek Jr: Fun Events For Kids With Special Needs
by Therese Powell 29 Sep 2015

Check out the Junior’s picks this week for kids with special needs.

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Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

I read in Variety today the animated feature “Hotel Transylvania 2” broke box office records for September, bringing in over $47 million in its debut weekend. Pretty impressive for a kid’s movie.

I remember when the first HT hit the screens back in the fall of 2012. Trailers for it started somewhere around Easter of the previous year, so the kinder-buzz was at full throttle by the time the film rolled out in September. Rose had the good fortune of scoring an invite to a birthday party where a screening of “Hotel Transylvania” was the main event. She was round the bend in anticipation for this big cinematic happening. I was happy to have two kid-free hours to clean out closets. A win, win for everyone.

I was only about 10 minutes into Closetpalooza when the call came from the birthday girl’s mom saying I needed to come and get Rose because the film was making her dizzy. When I arrived at the theater a few minutes later a very disappointed Rose was waiting for me in the lobby. As we were leaving she gave me the sad face and said, “I was really looking forward to that.”

Rose’s retreat from the theater was caused by an inner ear condition called Englarged Vestibular Aquedect Syndrome, or EVAS for short. Besides causing moderate to severe hearing loss (Rose wears hearing aids), sometimes –like while watching lots of movement on a big screen–extreme dizziness can also occur. “Hotel Transylvania” was when we first realized films on the big screen would probably be out for the unforeseeable future. Luckily for Rose, she didn’t have to miss out on the movie going experience because venues like Studio Movie Grill  offer smaller screens (and chocolate ice cream) which seem to be just the ticket for controlling the dizzies.

My own child’s condition got me thinking about other kids with special needs and activities and venues that accommodate them. Here are a few you’ll definitely want to try out.


Revolting children verses Miss Trunchbull. Photo: Joan Marcus

Revolting children vs Miss Trunchbull. Photo: Joan Marcus

Kids with hearing loss can enjoy the story of an extraordinary girl who takes a stand without missing a beat. A special performance of the Broadway hit “Matilda The Musical” featuring ASL interpretation happens this Thursday at AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Opera House. The performances by the young actors in this play are incredible, but it’s “Miss” Trunchbull who steals the show.

Besides having smaller screens which are perfect for children with motion problems, Studio Movie Grill also hosts SMG Special Needs Screenings. The movies are played with the lights up and the sound down so the children are free to laugh, play, sing and even dance while they watch. They’re free for children with special needs and their siblings. Everyone else pays before-noon matinee price. Seating is first come, first served so be sure to arrive early. Check out none other than “Hotel Transylvania 2” this Saturday morning at all SMG DFW locations.

Catch 'Hotel Transylvania 2' with your special kid. Photo: Sony

Catch ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ with your special kid. Photo: Sony

Dallas Children’s Theater also has special sensory-friendly performances of its plays. A special showing of  “Fancy Nancy: The Musical,” happens on Oct. 17  at 1:30 p.m. At these this special performance the house lights are up a little higher and the sound level is reduced. There’s also a “quiet room” for kids who need a break from the action. Plan on arriving an hour early because the nice people at DCT have all sorts of fun and engaging activities planned before the play.

Children with autism and their families are invited to the Dallas Museum of Art this Saturday morning for Autism Awareness Family Celebration. Sensory fun with staff-led gallery experiences is explored through a variety of activities. Kids can enjoy an interactive performance with a music therapist, listen to stories in the galleries, and kiddos ages 12 and over can do a gallery tour just for older kids. What makes this event so great is that it takes place before regular museum hours so you can avoid the crowds. The event is free but pre-registration is required. You can do that by clicking here.

The visually impaired can explore drawing at the Meadows Museum. Photo: Meadows Museum

The visually impaired can explore drawing at the Meadows Museum. Photo: Meadows Museum

Lastly, don’t miss Drawing from the Masters, an afternoon of informal drawing instruction at the Meadows Museum. This class, which meets twice a month, is open to kids 15 and older who are blind or have low vision. The class explores a variety of techniques and students improve their drawing skills by making use of their other senses–touch and hearing, with special tools and tactile graphics, which are images on raised surfaces. Drawing materials will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own sketchpads and pencils.

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