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Supporting Children With Autism in Virginia Beach

Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or sensory processing disorders have differences in the way they experience sensory input. Others may have irregularities or aversions to certain sensory information. As a parent of a child with autism, your top priority is to ensure your child’s comfort and safety.

However, you also want to let them explore, play and engage with others without becoming distressed. Finding activities suitable to your child’s needs can help them develop essential social skills and behaviors necessary for age-appropriate functions of daily living. We created this guide for families looking for stimulating activities to do in the Virginia Beach, Virginia, area.

Best Activities and Places in Virginia Beach for Children With Autism

Environments with crowds, bright lights, loud noises, strong smells and unfamiliar elements can be very upsetting for some children. Here are some sensory-friendly experiences to try in Virginia Beach.

1. Sensory Friendly Movies

If your child loves to watch their favorite movies over and over, consider treating them to a sensory-friendly screening at participating AMC theaters in Virginia Beach. Every month, families with children with autism or sensory processing disorders are encouraged to enjoy movies modified for sensory-sensitive audiences.

During these screenings, the theater will keep the lights on and turn the volume down to avoid flashing, bright lights and loud noises. You can even walk, dance, shout or sing during the movie, which can be ideal for children who become restless.

2. Arts Inclusion Company

For the creatives and storytellers in Virginia Beach, Arts Inclusion Company is the place to go. This theatrical arts company encourages people of all abilities to participate in the arts, including:

  • Performances
  • Music
  • Directing
  • Light and set design
  • Costume design
  • Film
  • Scriptwriting

Children with autism spectrum disorder can thrive in this inclusive environment that prioritizes learning valuable interpersonal skills and creative expression. This community-supported company is ready to welcome your family into the powerful and healing effects of the arts, encouraging your child to let go of all the limitations.

3. Get Air Trampoline Park

An indoor trampoline park offers fun for kids of all ages. Get Air Trampoline Park in Virginia Beach has a variety of activities for your child to enjoy, including:

  • Trampolines
  • Kiddie Court
  • Slackline
  • Ninja activities
  • Slamball
  • Foam pit
  • Massage chairs
  • Dodgeball

On the first Saturday of every month, this location offers A Special Time event from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. This is specifically catered to children with sensory sensitivities and unique needs, creating a calmer atmosphere for them to enjoy with their families and siblings.

This dedicated time allows your child to jump and play with fewer people around, and music is played at a lower volume to prevent distress. One parent or guardian can join each jumper for free during this time. You’ll find proper accommodations at this location that facilitate a fun and enjoyable experience for your child and their siblings.

4. Polkadot Play Sensory Gym

If you’re looking for a neurodiversity-positive place for your child to play and learn, Polkadot Play is a must-see. This sensory gym and learning center upholds the value of play as a tool for learning. Polkadot Play is an accessible place for children of all abilities to have the freedom to imagine and be their authentic selves. This community spot encourages families with neurodiverse children to come together and connect in a safe and supportive environment. You can even join their weekly Circle of Support Program for additional socialization and interaction.

Free play and sensory experiences can boost your child’s fine and gross motor skills, social skills and educational development.

Polkadot Play also offers classes that are parent-led or parent-involved, filled with music, crafts and movement to help children stretch their bodies and minds. You can even book a private play session to get the entire facility to yourself for your child and any friends or siblings they’d like to bring along.

Program for Children With Autism in Virginia Beach

Sensory-friendly spaces are just one way to support your child with autism as they adapt to new experiences and learn new skills. You can help them thrive by introducing them to fun places, activities and events designed to accommodate their needs.

If your child struggles to manage their emotions or behaviors, there are many other community resources you can turn to. Therapy for children with autism in Virginia Beach is another way you can integrate communication skills and social and physical behavior improvement.

Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is a learning theory-based practice commonly used to help reduce problem behaviors in individuals with autism by replacing them with more appropriate communicative responses. ABA therapy addresses various challenges in areas like language development, social and intellectual functioning and daily living skills.

ABA Therapy Services for Children With Autism in Virginia Beach

ABA therapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Those with autism, developmental delays or sensory processing disorder learn in unique ways, which is why ABA is specialized to target challenges in communication, social interaction and repetitive, maladaptive behaviors.

The goal of ABA therapy is to help your child reach their full potential by reinforcing desired behaviors through a play-based model. Most children have a natural inclination to play and explore. This makes it ideal for therapy as it captures their attention and encourages participation. Play is a powerful tool for learning, especially for those with ASD or similar conditions.

ABA therapy occurs in a safe, comfortable environment to reduce the anxiety of being in an unfamiliar space. They’ll also tailor interventions and treatment methods to your child’s interests and needs for a highly personalized therapeutic experience. Specialized therapy can support children with autism to:

  • Achieve age-appropriate milestones.
  • Improve social and communication skills.
  • Develop self-help and coping mechanisms.
  • Increase desired behaviors.
  • Become more independent.
  • Feel more confident.
  • Take on new challenges.
  • Improve focus, memory and attention.
  • Understand and manage emotions.
  • Learn replacement skills for maladaptive behaviors.
  • Take turns and share with others.

Find ABA Therapy Services in Virginia Beach to Support Your Child’s Needs

As you can see, there are plenty of fun activities and events for your child in Virginia Beach where they can interact with others in a sensory-friendly way. If you’re interested in other opportunities to engage your child, consider the benefits of ABA therapy. At Behaviorcraft, we’re part of the Kids SPOT family of companies. It’s our goal to put your child’s unique needs first, which is why we specialize and adjust our play-based treatment model to meet them where they are.

Contact Us

Our ABA therapists and Board Certified Behavior Analysts treat all children with autism and developmental delays with compassion, dignity and respect. We’re dedicated to providing evidence-based treatment to improve social skills, behavior and communication while supporting their confidence and self-esteem. We invite you to schedule a consultation with us to learn more about our services in Virginia Beach.