Fair hosting “Sensory Friendly” afternoon Aug. 25

By Meladi Brewer

DailyAdvocate.com

GREENVILLE — Sensory adaptation enables reduction of sensitivity, but for up to 16 percent of school-aged children, sensory adaptation is out of the question.

In an effort to become inclusive, The Great Darke County Fair 2021 is providing a Sensory Friendly Afternoon Tuesday, Aug. 25 starting at 12 p.m. until 2.

“We must reduce the negative effects of sensory differences and enhance the positive effects,” Manar Matusiak the Managing Director at Living Autism said.

There will be 10 rides without flashing lights or music to help not overwhelm those who can easily become over-stimulated. Not only is the Darke County Fair providing an afternoon of sensitivity, they are offering a Sensory Friendly Room everyday.

A Sensory Friendly Room will be available between The Ohio Center and the Fine Arts Building for anyone who needs a quiet, calm room to rest. This accommodation will be open daily.

“A sensory room is a space for those with sensory issues to learn how to regulate their brain’s negative reactions to stimuli,” Betty Bell said in her Blog post “How People With Special Needs Can Benefit From Sensory Rooms,” “It is a safe place to work on coping skills.”

Bloggers and researchers have been working for years on developing environments for those on the spectrum, so they can thrive. The same processes are no different when it comes to parents.

“I saw the post on Facebook. I thought that it (the Sensory Friendly Afternoon) was so awesome,” Joan Bannet said.

Bannet is the mother of a daughter who has autism. She says her daughter is no different from anyone else, she just processes the world differently. She is not the only parent with the need for sensitivity. Many parents are concerned about the lack of programs put in place in Darke County saying it is hard to find the help.

“I’m sure we will get there soon,” Bannet said. “This generation is so great with mental health awareness.”

The United States Census Bureau reported 8.8 percent of Darke County residents had some form of disability in 2019. These numbers have since grown and the need for accommodations are growing with them.

For more information regarding the Great Darke County Fair, visit darkecountyfair.com.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter, Meladi Brewer, email [email protected]