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Sensory-friendly performances for families affected by autism

The NLM Family Foundation provided a grant to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) to support sensory-friendly concerts in 2022-23, designed for all families with children or adults with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivities. Through this two-concert series, the BSO will give a sensory-friendly Holiday Pops Concert in December 2022 conducted by Keith Lockhart and a sensory-friendly Family Concert in April 2023 conducted by Thomas Wilkins.

These performances are shortened, modified versions of the BSO’s standard concerts, with reduced ticket prices and a flexible, non-judgmental environment. Modifications include relaxed house rules, reduced volume and lighting levels, extra space for movement, available noise-reduction headphones, designated quiet room and support spaces, modified food concessions, and credentialed autism therapist volunteers on site.

These sensory-friendly concerts are a powerful way for families to experience and discover live musical performances together. Individuals with autism or sensory sensitivities and their family members benefit emotionally and socially from shared high-quality concert experiences.