URBANDALE, Iowa -- Thursday, Courage League Sports, an adaptive gym in Urbandale, hosts a different kind of dance party. One without bass-pumping speakers and strobe lights. It’s a sensory-friendly and silent dance party for people with disabilities and their families.
This is the second year Silent Disco DSM and Courage League are partnering to put on this sensory-friendly event. They expect around 200 people.
It all starts with the headphones. There are three different live DJs you can switch between as well as adjust the volume. The Courage League gym is set up with different lighting. One side of the gym will be darker with party and disco lights and the other will be lit normally. This allows people to choose their dance party and tailor it to their individual needs. Both owners of Courage League and Silent Disco DSM are mothers to sons with disabilities, they said the ability to choose the song and the environment and engage at their level of comfort is very powerful to people with disabilities.
Owner of Silent Disco DSM Mindy Toyne said, “It’s so simple but yet it puts you in control, which is something that these individuals feel that they never really have control over an environment or over the situation. They are always being told what to do or having to be pushed from point A to point B or modifications made on their behalf.”
Courage League Founder and Executive Director Melissa Clarke-Wharff said this event brings not only families together but creates a community.
“It’s so hard when you have a child that’s affected, it can be very isolating and having a place, a meeting point, to share and be together and support each other, it’s really impactful. Myself running this place I have learned so much as a mom with special needs, I have to say it’s been really rewarding, it’s been supportive of me and Jack,” Clarke-Wharff said.
The sensory-friendly dance party is Thursday, April 19 from 5:50 P.M. to 7 P.M. at Courage League Sports in Urbandale. It is free and open to people of all abilities.