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City of St.Albert
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Festival Sensory Inclusion Program

FESTIVAL Sensory Inclusion Program

This program is designed to support children and other visitors with sensory processing disorders. The sights, sounds, smells and large numbers of people on the grounds can be overwhelming for anyone, especially those with sensory concerns. With this new program we hope to create a welcoming and inclusive Festival, allowing all children to experience the arts. The program is broken out into multiple components which are listed below.

Sensory Supports

Festival Social Stories

Social Stories were devised as a tool to help individuals better understand the nuances of interpersonal communication so that they could interact in an effective and appropriate manner. They are available to help children prepare in advance for their Festival experience and what to expect while on site. 

There are two stories available:

  1. Toddler Town
  2. General Festival

Inclusion Kits

Inclusion kits will be available on loan during the Festival. Kits include one pair of noise-dampening headphones and one pair of sunglasses. Kits may be picked up for a one day loan at the Information booth along Heritage Trail (a driver’s license will be required to receive a loaned kit). Alternatively, kits will also be available for a one time use at all of our Feature Performance venues; St. Albert Curling Club, Father Jan, Red Willow Place and The Save-On Foods Stage (The Arden Theatre).
*Limited quantities are available*

Calming Zones

The Festival is full of sensory stimulation from large crowds, surprises and sounds that may cause a child to feel uncomfortable. We will have three Calming Spaces available onsite to assist in these situations (see map for zone locations). These spaces are available should a child require a place to sit and regroup after being overstimulated. They will have low lighting, less noise and sensory supports inside. Ask any staff member or volunteer if you need to access one of these spaces. We also have plenty of green space that can act as calming zones should the outdoors be more suitable for you. Some areas to note are Lions Park behind the St. Albert Curling Club, north of The Children's Bridge and Celebration Garden, just east of The Healing Garden.

Sensory Rooms made possible by generous support from: 

Enhanced Way-Finding: Download FEstival Map

We are so excited to share our newly designed Festival map meant to assist patrons with site navigation. This map was created with Festival attendance preparation in mind. Each zone is colour-coded with each activity listed alphabetically in that zone. We have also added colour-coded flags on lamp posts in each zone for easy identification when on site. When preparing to attend the Festival you can easily identify your shows/activities and what zone they are in on the map. This should help prepare the child you’re attending with for their visit and allow them to identify where they are should you become separated.

Staff Training

A very important component of our Festival Sensory Inclusion Program is staff training. Festival staff and key volunteers are participating in training sessions to raise their awareness of Sensory Processing Disorders, and to inform them about the services being provided in the Festival Sensory Inclusion Program. We will also be incorporating a program overview in all our volunteer training sessions to ensure all staff and volunteers are able to support our patrons during their Festival experience.

Thank you to our Funders, In-kind Sponsors and Community Partners:


Community partners:

Centre for Autism Services Alberta
Autism Edmonton
Dogs with Wings

In-Kind Sponsors:

Fringe Theatre Adventures
Lois E. Hole School

For more information, contact the Festival Community Facilitator, Lesley: 780-459-1771 or

Last edited: September 7, 2018

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