Kids with sensory disorders get a chance to experience Boulder Philharomonic in concert

DENVER -- For parents of non-verbal children, communicating can be tough. But sometimes something as simple as music can open things up.

“I say it’s a magical experience,” Julie Marshall told Denver7 about her autistic daughter’s relationship with music.  “Before she could put two words together she could sing her entire ABCs. Something about music and the rhythm of music organizes her brain.”

That’s why Marshall often takes her daughter to sensory-friendly concerts like those offered by the Boulder Public Library and the Boulder Philharmonic.

  • The Colorado Autism Society offers many sensory-friendly experiences through their Opening Doors program

“The fact that we can come here and experience this amazing professional music and not feel judged and not explain or apologize for any behavior and just be ourselves and enjoy the music is incredible and amazing,” Marshall told Denver.

Juliette León Bartsch is the outreach specialist for the Boulder Public Library who helps organize Boulder Philharmonic concerts where kids are often dancing on the stage or lying under the piano to feel the music.

“For a very long time, families with cognitive disorders, challenges have been excluded from live performances,” Bartsch explained. "We are creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for children to experience music, live music, in a way that they can engage and express themselves and not worry about being hushed or interrupting something during the program.”

Benjamin Tarasewicz emcees many of the concerts. 

“I myself have autism and I’m also passionate about music,” he told the crowd. “Music with powerful lyrics just really gets me. It really touches my soul and has shaped who I am today.”

Marshall hopes music helps shape her daughter’s future as well. 

“You will hear from us that we are full of anxiety when we try to go to professional events and we’re always on edge and nervous,” she told Denver7. “So to be free and liberated and comfortable and bring our kids means the world.”

You can learn about other sensory-friendly experiences offered through the Colorado Autism Society's Opening Doors program on their website.

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