Museums Offer Special Programs for Kids with Autism

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2013-08-20 05:46

Museums offer unique educational and entertainment opportunities for children and adults alike, but for kids with autism and their families, visits to these cultural havens can be problematic. However, there are dozens of children’s museums and other museums around the United States that offer special programs for children with autism.

All about museums and autism programs

Museums are a double-edged sword: they offer a wide variety of sensory stimulation, which is something children with autism are attracted to and enjoy. However, the degree and presentation of that stimulation can easily be overwhelming for these children (and adults with autism), so the typical museum environment is generally too much for them to handle.

That’s why some children’s museums and general museums have established special programs for children with autism. These programs are available in different formats, depending on the museum. (Note: There is also a nationwide movie theater program for kids with autism as well.)

For example, some museums offer a specific day and time each month or at particular intervals when children with autism and their families are the only people permitted to come to the museum. The museums make certain environmental changes to accommodate the children, such as dimmed lights, and parents can network with each other.

Special museum times for kids with autism and their families also allow for crowd control (so the children are not overstimulated), and any melt downs or other behavioral challenges are understood without embarrassment by all attendees. Children also can have better access to activities and exhibits that interest them.

Note that children’s museums and other museums do not bar kids with autism and their families from visiting their facilities at any time they please. However, parents who know or believe their child will become anxious or uncomfortable going to a museum during general business hours have an option provided by some museums.

Some museums with autism programs

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