AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A new sensory space is now open at the Carousel Center in Austintown. The Center serves as a day program for adults with developmental disabilities.
Scott Austalosh’s daughter Sophia has autism. About two years ago the Voices 4 Autism founder dreamt of creating a sensory experience for similar individuals.
“My daughter is an experience, so she brings a lot of light to everybody that she meets,” Austalosh said. “Everything that I have done has been connected to my daughter.”
And from that, the idea for Sophie’s Place. The sensory experience has a calming room in the back with cozy furniture, dim lights, and soothing smells. The front room is a hands-on music room for creative stimulation.
“All printed electronics so there is wiring, there’s touch sensors behind all of this artwork, and it uses electroconductive ink. It uses the energy from your fingertips to actually activate the touch points,” Austalosh said.
Austalosh connected with Disney Star and longtime friend Genevieve Goings, one of the most recognizable voices in children’s entertainment to be part of the project.
“I absolutely adore Sophia and Scott. There are people that are just good people,” Goings said.
The California native lent her voice and production skills to create the musical sounds and images.
“Every experience is going to be different every single time. It’s up to the user how they want to experience it. In the music room, you can set a loop and do a dance and sing a song,” Goings said.
Austalosh hopes Sophia’s Place will be a model for using printed technologies, music and sounds in other venues for people with autism across the nation.
“I’m just a dad doing a thing and seeing all these people come together from my life, and the community has been amazing,’ Austalosh said.
Without the effort and collaboration from the Carousel Center, Scott and Genevieve say this dream would not be a reality.
Goings, one of the most recognizable voices in preschool entertainment, was the star of “Choo Choo Soul,” the long-running music-video show on Disney Junior and has been a leading voice in various properties across the Disney platforms. She is the producing artist behind the release of Disney Junior’s “Wonderful World of Songs.”