'He could participate without anyone judging': Sensory-friendly art experience

Published Aug. 24, 2021 11:26 p.m. ET

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EDMONTON -- An art exhibit in Edmonton looked a little different Tuesday, the lights were dimmed and the music lowered to provide a sensory-friendly experience.

The small changes made a big difference for families with autistic children.

“It’s one of those times where we can actually get to go and we know that we’re going to enjoy ourselves,” said Amber Morgan.

Loud noises, large crowds and bright lights can make Morgan’s 15-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum, and people like him uncomfortable.

“They just shrivel up and you just know that they’re in pain,” said Morgan. “Whether it’s the sounds that are getting too loud, or the people being too close.

“As soon as we came in he started talking and he was looking at the different images and saying what he thought they were… looking at the floor, just knowing that he could participate without anyone judging.”

The Edmonton Expo and the organizers of the Imagine Van Gogh exhibit teamed up to offer families the chance to appreciate over 200 pieces of Vincent Van Gogh’s art.

“So they’ve turned down the volume a little bit, they’ve limited the number of people that can come in while we’re here so it’s not just for the members of Autism Edmonton but for the entire autism community,” said Melinda Noyes, the executive director of Autism Edmonton.

The Imagine Van Gogh exhibit is open until Sept. 5.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Chelan Skulski

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