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How to Prepare for the Minnesota State Fair for Individuals with Sensory Processing Sensitivities

How to Prepare for the Minnesota State Fair for Individuals with Sensory Processing Sensitivities

By Gina Gibson, Fraser Sensory Inclusion Specialist • August 25, 2021

People who have sensory processing sensitivities experience sensations as either more or less intense than the rest of us. They may find the sights, smells, noise, bright lights and crowds of the fair overwhelming. Sensory processing sensitivities are common for individuals with autism, but other people also experience sensory sensitivity.

Those with sensory sensitivities may experience such strong anxiety that they feel like they can’t participate in certain activities or experiences. Social narratives, also called pre-visit stories, provide a blueprint to explain new experiences and decrease the anxiety around unfamiliar or potentially overwhelming events.

Fraser Sensory Inclusion Specialist Gina Gibson has partnered with the Minnesota State Fair to create a social narrative for the Great Minnesota Get-Together. This narrative highlights the parts of the fair that might be the most challenging and explains that if individuals feel overwhelmed, they can take a break in the Fraser Sensory Building. This sensory space is staffed by Fraser-trained sensory support volunteers, who can help individuals regulate with tools and techniques like weighted blankets and shoulder wraps, calming music, floor cushions, an exercise ball and fidget toys.

Click here to read Fraser’s Minnesota State Fair social narrative to help you and your family prepare for the fair.

Fairgoers can visit the Fraser Sensory Building from 9 a.m – 9 p.m., Aug. 26 to Sept. 6, on Cosgrove St., between Dan Patch Ave. and Wright Ave, adjacent to the wheelchair rentals and Home Improvement Building. The Fraser Sensory Building will also feature games, giveaways, educational resources, special guests and information about employment opportunities.