|Tom learns about reptiles|
This "Autism in the Museum" site is a first attempt to create an online repository of information, links, content, and resources for museums of all sorts interested in engaging with and including people with autism and related disorders. My reasons for doing this are threefold:
- I am absolutely convinced that there is great potential for synergy between museums and the autism community. People with autism learn best in a multi-sensory, engaging, self-paced, individualized setting -- and museum professionals are happiest when serving people who are truly passionate about the content of their museums and exhibits. There's much more to say on this topic, but I'll save it for a blog post at a later date.
- Quite a few museums are starting up programs, events, and grant-funded projects related to autism. Sadly, each museum winds up doing its own research to re-discover who has developed materials, conducted research, created events, or otherwise been successful in reaching out to the autism community. This site is a single source for information, links and other resources to help museums find the people, models, and tools they need to succeed.
- I have attempted to build a collaborative group to create a site like this one on a grander scale, but have learned that "autism in the museum" is not on the top of anyone's priority list. Sure, people are interested -- but in a tough economy, it's just not rising to the top of the heap. By creating this site, I hope to engender greater interest in the subject, as well as a more comprehensive resource.
What could this site be if there were funding and support? Imagine...
- Online interactive staff and volunteer trainings
- Online interactive templates for social stories, preview videos, and much more
- A podcast featuring success stories, research findings, and interviews with teens and adults on the autism spectrum
- A wiki on which museum professionals could share insights, resources, and ideas -- and where museum professional could consult with adults with autism on topics of concern
- National or even international online conferences