Sensory Friendly Centre County
Sensory Friendly Centre County (SFCC) is a community-wide initiative by the ACRES Project and the Downtown State College Rotary Club. Its mission is to make the Centre Region more accessible to those affected by autism and sensory processing disorders by offering FREE sensory comfort bags to local businesses and public spaces. At a Sensory Friendly venue, patrons who feel overwhelmed by the environment can borrow a sensory bag and use the items inside to help themselves feel better.
Each Sensory Bag Includes:
- Playdoh to relieve stress and stimulate tactile senses
- Sunglasses for those sensitive to lighting
- Tangle toy & fidget spinner for calming tactile and visual stimulation
- Earmuffs for those sensitive to noise
- Crayons & activity books to help pass time and distract from overwhelming environments
- Sanitary wipes to clean items after use
What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Approximately 1 in 5 people are affected by a sensory processing disorder (SPD), a condition which affects the way the brain processes and responds to sensory input. Because the brain is unable to "filter" and interpret stimuli effectively, people with SPD may be oversensitive to certain stimuli, undersensitive, or both.
Everyday environments can create an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, "sensory overload," or even physical pain in someone with SPD. This can make everyday activities like shopping, eating out, or attending a performance difficult. Although many people with autism also have sensory processing disorder, not everyone with SPD has autism.
What is it like to have SPD?
Sensory Processing Disorder affects everybody differently, but the following senses are most commonly affected:
Visual: Individuals with this kind of sensory processing disorder may be especially sensitive to light, glare, or visual clutter.
Tactile: People with SPD may be sensitive to
physical touch and textures, including food textures. They may avoid some textures and/or actively seek out some sensations.
Auditory: Individuals with an auditory processing disorder may perceive everyday sounds as much louder or quieter than others do, and they may need extra time to process verbal instructions.
Bodily Awareness: Also called proprioception, this sense uses information from our muscles and joints to tell us where our body is in space. People who have difficulty processing this kind of input may bump into people or objects, or feel a frequent need to jump, spin, or move.
Become Sensory Friendly!
Participating organizations receive:
- Sensory comfort bags to be loaned to patrons upon request
- Recognition on this website
- "Sensory Friendly" signage to welcome patrons to your business
There is no charge for the bags or the training, however donations are always welcome to help us sustain this valuable program and bring sensory inclusiveness to even more places in the community!