a concert with musicians on stage and families in the audienceWhile some still think of theaters as a place for quiet adults, there are many shows open to everyone! People of all ages, young and old, and children and adults with a wide range of likes and dislikes are welcome at many shows, concerts and performances.

What are “Sensory Friendly” Performances?

Just a quick search on Google for “sensory friendly” leads to over 6.5 million hits! There are sensory performances at movie theaters, big stages in major cities, and small community and college shows. There many ways people with disabilities to enjoy the arts in the community.

What are “Sensory Friendly Concerts®?”

“Sensory Friendly Concerts®” are spreading around the country. CJ Shiloh, a Board Certified Music Therapist, and her non-profit “The Musical Autist” are making music concerts available to everyone.  Sensory Friendly Concerts® create a welcoming and accepting space for people who love music and with any type of disability or differences. These concerts are adapted to be friendly for children or adults with sensitive sensory systems. Noise level, lights and seating are comfortable for people with autism spectrum disorders. The artist may be a professional artist, a music therapist, or a musician who wants to share their love for music. Sometimes the performer has a disability. The concert includes the support of a music therapist to share the love of music with everyone in an accepting and inclusive space.

Where do they happen?

While Sensory Friendly Concerts® are an aspect of Community Music Therapy, there are other kinds of shows that are sensory friendly. Check your local listings for organizations that offer these kinds of shows. In Boston, you will find them at

  • Local colleges and universities in Boston
  • Broadway shows coming through town
  • Local movie theaters

How can I get involved?

There are many ways you can get involved.

  • Attend local sensory friendly shows!
  • Let the organizers know that your family wants to be involved in the arts scene!
  • Learn more about the Sensory Friendly Concert series by exploring The Musical Autist.
  • Talk with a Board Certified Music Therapist in your area to make your program more sensory friendly.

Whether enjoying Sensory Friendly Concerts® or going to a sensory friendly showing of a film at the movie theater, children who are sensitive to dark spaces and loud or startling sounds can enjoy the arts with their families. As opportunities like this increase, I look forward to seeing more arts experiences that are welcoming to all children, adults and families.  We need more family friendly open mics, accessible performance venues that welcome everyone and arts performances that invite the audience to participate, rather than be quiet.

To learn more visit The Musical Autist .

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