Twenty-One Senses is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that children with sensory sensitivities and other sensory-related disabilities are understood and supported in all aspects of life. We do this by providing their parents and caregivers with the tools and supports necessary to navigate typical social, enrichment, and educational experiences.
We were founded and are staffed almost entirely by experienced education industry professionals who either have disabilities themselves or are caregivers of children with disabilities and sensory sensitivities. As a team, we are united by the vision that the world will see our children the way we see them: as loving, vibrant, and valuable members of our families and communities.
Twenty-One Senses is still in our organizational infancy, having received our 501(c)(3) in the latter half of 2019. The organization was originally conceived as two standalone but complimentary programs:
- Public Resources, a collection of free, digital resources aimed at educating and connecting sensory families;
- Sensory Sanctuary, a sensory-friendly play space and community center where children with disabilities can participate in safe play and enrichment activities with their peers
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, all in-person activities came to an abrupt halt. Although our mission remains unchanged, the pandemic has radically transformed the day-to-day needs of families with sensory issues—and the sources of revenue available to properly support the programs that respond to those needs. As of December 2020, Twenty-One Senses has indefinitely suspended all capital expenditures and fundraising related to the Sensory Sanctuary program.
Other opportunities have emerged, however, and we’ve been able to shift operational strategies quickly in order to support the so-called new normal. Our established digital presence allowed us to monitor the rapidly evolving needs and concerns of special needs families and adapt our programming in real time:
- Within days of stay home orders being issued, we published a sortable list of over 150 virtual learning resources to help keep children engaged during shelter-in-place.
- We also created a piloted our new Caregiver Coaching program, a personalized coaching service aimed at empowering caregivers to navigate the ups and downs of remote learning, socially distancing, and family dynamics through COVID and beyond.
- Our new Community Membership program (launching January 2020) will allow parents to find connection and support via exclusive access to webinars and our Facebook group, mentoring from education experts and special needs parents, discounts on Caregiver Coaching, and more.
Thank you to all our supporters and community members. Together, we can weather this storm and emerge more connected, and more empathetic, and more resilient.
Watch this brief animation to learn the story behind Twenty-One Senses.