FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What does "sensory friendly" mean?
Individuals with Autism and other neurological differences may experience challenges related to sensory processing. This means their brains and bodies may have difficulty interpreting and responding to information collected by our five senses: smell, sight, taste, touch and sound.
“Sensory friendly” environments are thoughtfully designed to help individuals experiencing sensory processing issues manage sensory stimuli so they can feel more comfortable, enjoy their surroundings, and successfully interact with others.
Accommodations at Inclusion Festival will include music played at a lower volume, the absence of strobe lighting, a layout that reduces crowding, opportunities to engage in mindfulness activities, and quiet, peaceful places to take a calming break.
Why are festivals important?
The importance of festivals is documented throughout history and across many different cultures. Traditionally, festivals are a purposeful and profound way to connect with our roots, reflect on personal values and experiences, and identify rituals and practices that resonate with us. They offer individuals an opportunity to come together in celebration, strengthening our sense of belonging and cohesiveness.
Additionally, festivals tend to evoke a sense of joy and appreciation for our surroundings. Often, upon entering a festival grounds, one can feel positive energy radiating. This energy is mutually created and mutually shared amongst participants. It invites the possibility of contentment, relaxation, and the reduction of inhibitions. In this space, individuals can become fully present, strengthen self-awareness, explore passions and interests, build relationships, and connect with inner purpose to guide and sustain positive lifestyle choices. Experience this for yourself at Inclusion Festival
What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is a new concept that challenges conventional thinking about ability and individuality.
The term suggests that cognitive differences like autism and ADHD are the result of normal, natural variations in the vastly complex and diverse human genome. Instead of viewing these variances as pathological in nature, proponents of neurodiversity assert that cognitive differences have been present throughout history and have added immeasurable value to human evolution and society.
The concept of neurodiversity is gaining traction! It provides a broader model for acceptance and understanding, which will ultimately help people with neurological differences more easily obtain the accommodations and supports they need in order to be the best versions of themselves.
Will there be workshops and activities for all ages?
Yes! Providing educational and recreational workshops and activities for all ages and abilities is a core mission of Inclusion Festival. There will be workshops specifically geared towards parents and caregivers in addition to workshops created just for kids. We will also have an array of all ages workshops that the whole family can participate in together!
How will individuals with special needs benefit from live music?
A literature review conducted by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) concludes that music is universally appealing and helps to promote social, emotional, and cognitive skills across many different disability categories. Music is widely accepted as an evidence-based therapy that is known to reduce stress, enhance memory, improve communication, strengthen sensory-processing, gross motor and fine motor skills, and diminish maladaptive behaviors. Additionally, there is strong potential for communities with diverse needs and backgrounds to bond through shared musical experiences like those that will be offered at Inclusion Festival.
What is "mindfulness" and why does it matter?
Pause and take a deep breath. Now, intentionally tighten the muscles in your body. Clench your fists. Squeeze your toes. Scrunch your face. Notice how it feels to hold this tension. Release your muscles. Notice how it feels to relax. Oftentimes, we move through our days holding this kind of tension in our bodies without noticing.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing a relaxed awareness to the present moment. Through breathing and meditation techniques, those who practice mindfulness can learn to tune into mental, physical, and environmental sensations without judgement. In this space, we can teach our bodies and minds to release tension, and strengthen trust, patience and acceptance.
Scientific evidence documenting the positive effects of mindfulness continues to grow and strengthen. Mindfulness activities have been shown to improve attention, emotional regulation, and sensory processing abilities, and to increase our capacity for compassion and empathy. Inclusion Festival aims to share tangible mindfulness strategies and accessible techniques with participants so they are able to experience the benefits of mindfulness all year round.
Do you need volunteers?
Yes! Inclusion Festival is looking for individuals who want to help us make a difference in the lives of those living with special needs. Volunteers are welcome and appreciated throughout the year. You can also follow us on Facebook to be the first to know what kind of support is needed, and feel free to send us an email anytime (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your interest, skills, and availability! We can also offer community service hours/credit for employee programs and college students.
How will your online festival be inclusive?
We plan to use assistive technology to increase online accessibility, to bring together an exciting and diverse lineup of musicians, thought-leaders, and educators from across the country including, to amplify and empower the voices of neurodiverse people, to identify and implement innovative ways to connect and socialize virtually, and to work together as a community to be a positive force for change and equity for all.
Will there be quiet places to take a break?
Yes. There will be numerous sensory-friendly art installations, free-play zones, and quiet, calm-down spaces for individuals and families to take a break, relax and achieve emotional regulation. There will also be staff trained to support individuals with special needs stationed throughout the festival grounds.
What should I bring?
To ensure maximum comfort and enjoyment, we recommend you bring:
CASH if you will be purchasing tickets at the Gate (Buy online and save time and money!)
snacks & food
re-usable water bottles
beverages (NO GLASS)
facial cleansing wipes
body cleansing wipes
Will Inclusion Festival be accessible for people with physical challenges?
Yes! Our partner, Accessible Festivals, works with us to ensure comfortable access for all. There will be paved areas, low-cut grass, easy parking access, ample shade, and accessible restrooms. We will also have an Access Center with a team of staff dedicated to ensuring maximum comfort, participation and mobility. Read more about our accommodations here.
Can I spend the night?
Yes. Inclusion Festival offers both single day and multi-day passes, so spending the night is optional. Family-friendly on and off-site accommodations are available to our overnight guests to ensure maximum comfort and participation that is customized to the needs of each individual. Read more about our off-site suggestions here.
On-site tent or RV camping is available in your choice of open fields, treelined areas, and wooded spots. All campgrounds will be family friendly, with access to water spickets, hoses, and bathrooms.