Local nonprofit Empowering Kids is trying to make Perham as welcoming and accessible to those with autism or other sensory needs as it can.

This is where all of us come in.

Empowering Kids has launched the Autism Aware Initiative, which aims to partner with local businesses to make them sensory needs-friendly and welcoming.

"We have many individuals and families coming into town and from town who have a hard time navigating things that the rest of us take for granted," Tiffany Tobkin, Director of Programming at Empowering Kids, told the Focus for a December story.

Those taken-for-granted things include going shopping, or hitting a restaurant, or visits to the dentist or getting your hair done.

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Those are the first businesses Empowering Kids is planning to collaborate with, to make a few spaces in Perham accessible. Then, the idea can grow and spread from there.

Our hope is that, in the coming weeks and months, we will see the Autism Aware Initiative in action all around us.

A great test run will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. That's when Empowering Kids hosts a sensory-friendly screening of "Dolittle" at the Comet Theater.

"'Dolittle' will play with a few adaptations geared towards those with sensory challenges," according to a news release. "The volume will be turned down and the lights will be a little brighter. Most importantly, there is a 'no hush' policy. We don’t encourage talking, but we understand that there may be questions throughout the film."

Noise reducing headphones, weighted blankets and fidgets will be available to check out. Cost is $6 per person.

Very cool, and a great way for kids and families to connect in a supportive, understanding environment.

For more information call 218-346-2322 or visit www.empoweringkidsperham.org.