Disability Inclusivity Initiatives
At Together We Bloom, we are committed to creating a more equitable and accessible community for individuals with disabilities. This year at Maplewood Porchfest, we have taken steps to increase the inclusivity of the event with our sensory-friendly quiet room, communication board, and social stories. These supports are just a start and we have a long way to go to make our community events inclusive for ALL people with disabilities. In the future, we hope to meet even more accessibility needs.
A special thanks to Maplewood Porchfest Committee and Maplewood Township for their their support and partnership in implementing these initiatives. www.maplewoodporchfest.com
Porchfest Social Story
and Communication Board
Social Stories are first-person narratives written to introduce a new, unexpected, or challenging situation with simple language and pictures . They help the reader know what to expect and provide options for support.
Anyone can benefit from learning about situations ahead of time but social stories are often particularly helpful for neurodivergent individuals including Autistic people or people with anxiety.
Social stories should be used as a tool to empower and support inclusion and access, not to force compliance with social norms. More suggestions are listed at the end of the document.
Some individuals with intellectual, communication, or developmental disabilities benefit from Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) to support their language comprehension and expression, such as communication boards, speech-generating devices, or sign language. Communication partners can model and use this Porchfest communication board by pointing to the pictures on as you read the social story and make comments during Porchfest. A child should never be required to point to the board, but we can model and provide opportunity.
Click to Download
Porchfest Communication Board
To increase the accessibility of Porchfest for our neurodivergent neighbors, there will be a sensory-friendly quiet room available inside DeHart Community Center, 120 Burnett Ave, Maplewood. A sensory-friendly quiet room is a designated space designed to provide a calming and regulating environment for children and adults with sensory differences or disabilities who may benefit from a break from the music and activity of Porchfest.