Community Recommendations

Real suggestions from the Skinner North community!

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The Chicago Red Stars (professional women's soccer team) is providing sensory-inclusive match day spaces for the 2024 season. All fans with sensory needs will have access to sensory bags with noise canceling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards; weighted lap pads and quiet areas, as well as a sensory room at SeatGeek Stadium.

–Andy Owens

Ryan Learning Center at the Art Institute. A very calming and well curated space. Enter from the modern wing go past the ticket selling area and turn left before the ticket collectors. Free entry. Open 11-3 Thursday- Monday. They have one main art activity with great art supplies that is linked to an exhibit in the museum. Staff is very friendly and accommodating.

–Danit Schleman

Lincoln Park Zoo's Searle Vistor Center has sensory bags available. This includes noise-cancelling headphones, a stress ball and yellow-tinted sunglasses. There is a quiet room located in the Member Center near the Searle Visitor Center.

The Chicago Children Museum offers sound-muffling earphones and a “calming corner” on the third floor. Learn more here.

AMC has sensory friendly films. These are typically on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month, the theaters show family-friendly movies with the lights on and the sounds lower than usual. Learn more here.

If you are looking for a fun music class to connect with your child, I recommend Ukulele & You class from Merit School of Music (in West Loop). This is a weekly adult-child class (kids age up to age 8). My son and I took this class for a year. My autistic son could be highly sensitive on certain things (E.g. didn't want to hold hands during games with peers; trouble sitting still and had to move around the classroom), but the instructor was very understanding about diverse student needs. She was super inclusive and did an amazing job connecting with my son. I highly recommend instructor Ms. Anneaka - very patient, warm and loving. We had a rough beginning for the first few classes, but in the end, my son really loved this class!

A family friend (with two high school students, one of whom ADHD) has recommended Chicago Adventure Therapy as an inclusive and supportive space for kids to learn and become mentors via adventure sports.

–Nootan Bharani

We have engaged our child in Park District adaptive sports, specifically goalball, for blind and visually impaired people. As of now, the park district program is for adults, but one of us (parents) have been attending with our child and we have found a wonderful and caring community, including the coach. The Park District adaptive sports are listed here.

–Nootan Bharani

We love programs and events that are at the North Park Nature Center. It covers a vast area. Walking Stick Woods is set aside specifically for kids. There are no manmade playgrounds - just woods where kids are encouraged to get dirty and move branches around to build and break.

We have used Chicago Park District inclusion policy and have requested inclusion aides for the summer programs (for Mozart Park, Horner, Independance, Indian Boundary, North Park Nature Center, and Gompers). It seems that people do not know about this because each time we have used an inclusion aide, our child has been the only one assigned with one.

Haircuts For Us is a non-profit website that helps you find barbers and stylists in Chicago who are skilled in accommodation and patience, being fit for youth with diverse needs and it was founded by high school students at Walter Payton!

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