Frequently Asked Questions
Parents & Caregivers
Is there anything I should know before I go?
We recommend reviewing the Going to the Show and Going to the Museum pre-visit guides, as well as visiting the specific venue website to help familiarize yourself with each program’s accommodations and resources.
Look for the sensory inclusive access symbol that indicates the advertised show/event will provide sensory inclusive accommodations, such as modifications to sound and lighting levels, an accepting and inclusive environment, noise-reducing headsets, a quiet room, and knowledgeable staff. Remote viewing of the mainstage performance, and/or other accommodations may also be available per venue.
How can I make my events or cultural programs sensory inclusive?
We encourage everyone to make the arts more accessible! If you are interested in implementing sensory inclusive measures in an arts organization or program, please reach out to our team at AKI@miamidade.gov or (305) 375-4634.
Where do I start?
Convene focus group meeting(s) / pre-visit / pre-show screening(s):
invite constituents to preview your show/event/tour, provide feedback and discuss the appropriate modifications and accommodations to be provided. At a minimum, focus groups should include target audience members and/or their families/caregivers. Other key individuals to include are experts in the field of sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc., such as educators, practitioners, clinicians, behavioral and occupational therapists, psychologists, etc.
What will this cost?
Many modifications and accommodations can be made at little or no cost (see below). In addition, grant funding of up to $5000 is available to non-profit cultural organizations who qualify through Miami-Dade County’s Audience Access Grant (AUD) Program.
What modifications and accommodations should I add?
Provide noise reducing headsets/earmuffs:
Noise reducing headsets/earmuffs should be made available prior to the performance/visit and located in the lobby or at the entrance.
Provide a “Quiet / Cool-Down Room”:
Set up a comfortable room where individuals/families can take a break if needed. Ideally, the Quiet Room should be staffed by experts or volunteers who have been trained to work with individuals with sensory sensitivities. Ideally, the Quiet Room should include two zones/areas: one with quiet activities such as reading, drawing or using fidgets; the other zone should be a calm, quiet, sensory-free sanctuary. Healthy gluten-free/casein-free/nut-free snacks, subdued lighting, beanbag chairs, and play tents are appreciated by children and families.
Provide remote viewing:
Ideally for performing arts experiences, the Quiet Room should include remote viewing of the main stage show. If not possible, a live-stream feed in the lobby would be an acceptable alternative.
How can I ensure everybody at my cultural organization is on the same page?
Establish an accepting and inclusive environment (training):
house/event staff members as well as performers need to be trained on how to interact appropriately with audience members and what to expect from individuals with sensory sensitivities, including possibly disruptive behavior such as individuals making loud noises and moving around.
What should I tell patrons to prepare them for a sensory inclusive experience?
Provide a pre-show / pre-visit guide: provide a pre-show / pre-visit social narrative guide such as Going to the Show and Going to the Museum or a pre-visit video to patrons in advance, in order to help prepare and orient audiences and visitors before they arrive.
Prepare a pre-show / pre-visit introduction: plan to begin the show/visit by introducing the characters/performers or key staff (such as docents, group leaders or educators) to the audience/visitors and providing an overview of the program or visit and facility. The pre-show / pre-visit guide can also be utilized during the introductions. Be sure to mention the length of the performance or visit, whether or not there will be an intermission or breaks, and the location of key services such as the quiet room, restrooms, concessions, etc. For performing arts experiences also “set the scene” by providing a summary of the storyline.
How do I market our sensory inclusive event?
Use the sensory inclusive access symbol in all marketing materials to indicate the advertised show/event will provide sensory inclusive accommodations.
Include an access statement: together with the sensory inclusive access symbol, include detailed, explicit language in all marketing and promotional materials describing the specific accommodations that will be provided, for example:
(Performance) This performance will offer accessible accommodations for individuals with sensory sensitivities. The theater will provide an accepting and inclusive environment, modifications to sound and lighting, noise reducing headsets, a professionally-staffed quiet room with remote viewing of the main stage performance, and a special pre-show guide to preparing new audiences for a live performing arts experience.
(Event/Museum Visit) This event will offer accessible accommodations for individuals with sensory sensitivities. The museum will provide an accepting and inclusive environment, modifications to sound and lighting, noise reducing headsets, a professionally-staffed quiet room, and a special pre-visit guide to preparing new visitors for a museum experience.
Consider offering discounted or free admission.
Promote the availability of the pre-show / pre-visit social narrative (such as Going to the Show and Going to the Museum) or video in all marketing and promotional materials (i.e. press releases, advertisements, email, websites, social media, etc.).
How might sensory inclusivity affect our show or exhibit?
Consider the size of the crowd / limit attendance if possible: this is especially relevant for museums and similar venues where large crowds in close proximity can be overwhelming for individuals with sensory sensitivities. For performing arts experiences, consider using smaller venues or blocking out seating or upper tiers.
For performing arts venues, allow general admission seating whenever possible.
Limit the length of the performance/visit: the length of the performance or guided visit should be considered, with no more than 45-60 minutes maximum being the ideal.
For performing arts experiences, do not include an intermission unless truly necessary.
Make appropriate modifications to sound and lighting levels: amplified sound and special effects should be lowered / subdued. Lighting should be bright enough to see around the room without being harsh. Avoid strobe lighting effects
How do we prepare performers and staff?
Establish an accepting and inclusive environment (training): house/event staff members as well as performers need to be trained on how to interact appropriately with audience members and what to expect from individuals with sensory sensitivities, including possibly disruptive behavior such as individuals making loud noises and moving around.