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Art&Seek Jr: Special Activities For Kids With Special Needs

by Therese Powell 8 Jul 2014 4:55 PM

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



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.

Like a lot of kids, my daughter Rose was beside herself with anticipation for the premier of the film MaleficentTo say she was excited was an understatement.

When M day finally came, it was off to the mall for the 10 a.m. show as promised.   Sadly, 15 minutes into the show we were forced to leave. Rose has a condition in her inner ear 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. Rose says it’s like being on a wild, spinning ride that she can’t get off of. It was the flying sequence in Maleficent that did her in.

Needless to say, Rose was disappointed. She’d waited for weeks for this movie and the thought of not being able to see it until it came out on DVD left her very disheartened. Luckily we didn’t have to wait until December to see if Maleficent was really the bad guy she was painted to be. We headed across the street to Studio Movie Grill where the smaller screen and chocolate ice cream seemed 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.

Make your own art at a special event this weekend at the DMA.  (photo: Dallas Museum of Art)

Make your own art at a special event this weekend at the DMA. (photo: Dallas Museum of Art)

Speaking of Studio Movie Grill, besides having smaller screens that are perfect for children with motion problems, they also host 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 Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue all SMG DFW locations July 26 at 11:00 a.m.

Dallas Children’s Theater also has special sensory-friendly performances of its plays. Stuart Littlethe tale of a little mouse with big dreams, happens this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. In 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 their Autism Awareness Family Celebration. Feelings, emotions, and moods are explored through a variety of fun activities. Kids can participate in a hands-on workshop with an actor from the Dallas Children’s Theater,  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.

Lastly, don’t miss Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering  at the Grapevine Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Grand Gallery. It’s a fun and interactive exhibit that tells inspiring stories of engineers and users with disabilities who design and use technologies to help themselves and others achieve their goals. Kids can be inspired by individuals like Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and Carrie Krischke, an Army veteran who has worked on the development of a new prosthetic known as the “Luke” arm, named after Star Wars character, “Luke Skywalker.” Besides the stories, the exhibition also features interactive areas that allow kids to get their hands on actual ability-enhancing tools–everything from customized wheelchairs, to neuroprosthetic limbs controlled by a user’s thoughts.

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 9-year-old daughter, Rose. Tell us about your ideas for quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at [email protected].