November 14: Joliet Junior College Planetarium Hosts Neurodiverse-Friendly Show

One of my regular twitter correspondents reached out to me recently to discuss his plans for a low-sensory-input planetarium show. He already had all the good ideas, but we chatted and confirmed that this would work, and I’m thrilled he’s moved forward with the plan.

Here’s the announcement. We’re planning to go!

We wanted to host a special event before the holidays get in full swing, and especially take into consideration how certain elements of typical movie theatre presentations are not ideal for children with neurodivergent conditions,” said Morrison. “We are hoping to present a show they will enjoy.”
There will be a 35-minute full dome show for all ages, a brief intermission, and then a 25-minute show for ages 8 and up.
Families who attend the show can expect the following arrangements:
-Some lighting will be kept on in the planetarium throughout the show.
– The sound will be turned down from normal levels.
-Anyone can get up and leave (and then come back) at any time during the show if they need to
– Guides will be available outside the planetarium to direct families to where they need to go
-Families are welcome to bring in their own snacks.

One of the things I really like about this is that while the press release mentions autism and Down syndrome, it’s not a diagnosis-specific event. I wrote some time ago about a Seattle event for kids with autism. When I queried the museum why “autism” only, they said it had to do with funding and of course any child with sensory needs is welcome. But such titles send the wrong message (and fall within the medical model).

So great work Joliet Junior College Planetarium, and maybe I’ll see some of you there.

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