Workshop Highlights from Welcoming Families with Autism Workshop at the Science Museum London, 9 February 2016

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This hugely successful workshop trained over forty delegates on how to focus on families with autism in museums. The workshop included talks from experts on autism and gave real examples of museums who are working to provide an accessible and welcoming environment. Inspiring ideas were shared between large and small museums nationally and internationally with delegates chipping in on twitter – here’s the Storify.

Sally Fort, Museum Consultant, gave an insightful talk about her research into what museums are doing to include families with autism – check out Sally’s blog and articles for more details. Other contributions came from, among others, Carol Povey (Director of the Centre for Autism) who gave an introduction to the autism spectrum, Claire Madge (volunteer at Museum of London and Horniman Museum and Gardens) who talked about her experiences of visiting museums with an autistic child, and Jack Welch, Youth Patron of Ambitious About Autism (who himself identifies as having mild autism).

Tips gained throughout the day included: creating visual stories, giving consideration to siblings, considering the sensory environment, and providing break out spaces for families to use.

The day was full of discussions amongst delegates about the topic. There was a general sense that museums are public venues that can help families with autism, letting them be families doing what all families do.

The workshop left plenty of food for thought, and with such a high turnout we may well see lots changes for families with autism within museums and cultural venues soon.

 

 Here’s what delegates said about it.

Easy ways of making us more autism friendly & more long-term ideas such as space considerations. Very helpful in the sense of informing the ongoing need for Ambitious about Autism It was great to hear some other ideas and struggles. Eye-opening

 

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