Welcoming people with additional needs

Getting out and about in your local community is important for your wellbeing. Sometimes though, the local community can be overwhelming for children and young people with SEND. Places are increasingly offering ‘SEND Sessions’ (also known as autism friendly, accessible, or relaxed sessions) to welcome people with additional needs. A SEND session is where a space accessed by everyone is made available with adjustments exclusively for people with SEND for a limited time.

At a SEND session there are normally limited spaces available to make it calmer. Volume of music or flashing lighting may be turned down. Side rooms may be available to use as calm areas. Staff will be aware and able to support without judgement.

Often you need to book a space to avoid overcrowding. This is to make the session more enjoyable and less pressured for families.

Places you may find SEND sessions include.

To search SEND sessions contact the venue you want to attend to ask if they offer this, or plan to in the future. Or visit the events calendar using the ‘SEND sessions’ filter.

Some venues in Somerset have signed up to Ollie the Flamingo and have been given information about autism. They have agreed to make changes to allow the whole family to have a more relaxed experience.

Somerset Libraries do not hold specific SEND Sessions, as they are already calm venues with aware and supportive staff. But don’t forget that Somerset Libraries have virtual tours and social stories to help make your visits easier.

Last reviewed: January 31, 2024 by Gemma

Next review due: July 31, 2024

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