Have you ever witnessed a parent with a child having a tantrum and thought, “wow, that parent doesn’t know what they’re doing?” Or even worse, have you ever been the victim of this? Parenting a child with autism can be quite difficult and tiring, and many feel they can’t take their child for outings to the store or to a museum, for fear of a tantrum or melt down. Museums across the country became sympathetic to this, and decided to take action.
According to a study released by the American Alliance of Museums, more museums are creating programs catered towards children with autism. Whether it is a specific block of time during the day just for these children, or special art projects, museum staff members are encouraging families to attend the museums. Some museums are also encouraging professionals to attend these programs, to serve as a guide for the parents.
The Please Touch Museum for children in Philadelphia is an example of this effort, with their “Play without Boundaries” program. During this hour, the lights are dimmed and the music is turned down, in order to help the children feel comfortable. In an article released this week, parents of a 3 year old with autism were always reluctant to take their son on outings for fear of a tantrum. [i] However, after such a positive and rewarding experience at the museum, they are excited to return back for future events.
Other museums aiding in this effort include: Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art- Jacksonville, Chicago’s Children Museum, Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, Boston Children’s Museum, COSI Columbus Science Center, and Oklahoma WONDERtorium.
If the trend continues, more parents across the country will be able to bring their child to a museum without fear of judgment or stress.
To read more and for a full list of participating programs, visit the American Alliance of Museum’s site.
[i] “NPR” How to make museums more inviting for kids with autism. 18 Jun 2013. Web. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/06/18/193092510/how-to-make-museums-more-inviting-for-kids-with-autism>