Out 'n' About Events
Children deserve a fun outing just like anyone else, but some places can be difficult to visit because the environment can create a sensory overload, surprises, or a change in routine.
Out ‘n’ About is a program that sets up autism-friendly events for individuals and their families in our community. Many of the events are "sensory-friendly", meaning that attempts are made to reduce typical noises, lights, and other factors that can become overwhelming. When possible, parents are given lots of details about the place they are visiting so they can prepare their children and plan in advance. These events are not only fun, but often educational. The goal of each event is to keep the costs down for families. Most events are either free, or costs less than $10 a person.
Past events have been:
Sensory-Friendly Movies: UEC Theaters in McDonald, TN has partnered with the CAC to provide a movie one Saturday a month for our families. During these special times, the lights are brought up, and the volume is turned down so our children can be more comfortable.
Lookouts Baseball: The Chattanooga Lookouts have graciously donated a sky box for one of their home games so families can enjoy a Lookouts game and have a safe haven for their kids. For some families, this was the first time ever visiting a baseball field.
Fire Station Visit: Even though fire trucks are big and shiny, they can also be very loud and scary. The special visits to the local CFD station allows families to get up close and personal with the upstanding firemen that represent the Chattanooga Fire Department. This educational outing allows kids to see a fireman in a full suit so they won’t be scared. They also get to tour a fire station and climb in a fire truck without the worry of loud sirens.
Pizza Party: Mellow Mushroom has given the CAC a pizza party for our families. We are given a section of the restaurant and are served “family style” at the table. This results in a more relaxing meal out and a shorter wait time on food. Art ‘n’ crafts are also provided for kids.
Police Station Visit: Just like with the firefighters, the trip to the police station is educational. On these trips, the families can meet uniform police officers from the Chattanooga Police Department, tour their facility, and complete a Child I.D. Kit. The kids also get to climb into the many vehicles the CPD and SWAT have on site.
Trains: The Lionel Collector’s Club of America stopped in Chattanooga for their annual convention. The members extended an open invitation to our families to tour and enjoy all the massive model train layouts for a couple of hours. This event was a private showing, and LCCA created incredible layouts of all sizes for everyone to enjoy.
Families were also able to enjoy a morning with the locomotives at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. The museum is conveniently located right off Jersey Pike, and displays many kinds of trains in their yard as well as put new life into historic pieces. We enjoyed a 6 mile roundtrip through Missionary Ridge Tunnel and learned how a locomotive can turn around by using a turntable.
Monster Jam Pit Party: When the huge trucks and fast motorcycles roared through town, the Monster Jam Corporation partnered with Out ‘n’ Abouts to present a sensory-friendly pit party. Our families were allowed inside McKenzie Arena 30 minutes before the rest of the awaiting fans so we could enjoy meeting the drivers and pit crew as well as get up close to those mighty Monster trucks. For most of our families, this would be the only time they could meet their favorite driver, since the actual shows are loud and overwhelming.
If you or a business you know would like to partner with Out ‘n’ Abouts for future events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org at 423-531-6961, opt 2.