Museum Programs for People with Autism

Exploring Our Way for families at the NH Children's Museum

The following are basic listings of special "autism friendly" and/or "autism only" programs offered by museums of all kinds.  This list is not comprehensive, but it does provide a good overview of offerings as of January, 2013.  Some of these programs are ongoing; others are of limited duration.  None are "inclusive," but instead are intended to provide separate experiences designed specifically for individuals (generally children) on the autism spectrum and their families.  I've listed the programs in no particular order.

Do you know of other programs that should be listed?  Please let me know!

Ongoing Programs for Families and Groups with Autistic Members
Exploring Our Way is a free, twice-monthly early-morning program for families with children on the autism spectrum, offered by the Children's Museum of NH. This program provides opportunities to enjoy family time at the museum in a safe, understanding environment, allows parents to network with one another, and helps families discover new resources available to them.

The Guggenheim Museum’s sequential program series serves students with autism spectrum disorders.
Each program is especially catered to the specific needs of the group, and includes two classroom visits by a museum educator and two museum visits, one for the class and one for the families.

The Dallas Museum of Art’s Autism Awareness Family Celebrations provide a safe, comfortable way to introduce the Museum to families of children with autism and show them how they can have a successful visit to the Museum with their child on the Autism Spectrum. Pre-registered families can visit the Museum free of charge and enjoy the Museum’s Center for Creative Connections (C3) before the Museum opens to the public.

The Intrepid Museum's Family Access Programs are designed for families with children, teens, and adults with autism and other developmental differences and challenges.

The Yale Center for British Art's “Exploring Artism, piloted by the Education Department last spring, is a monthly program for families with children, ages 5 to 10, who are on the autism spectrum. The program, designed in consultation with the Yale Child Study Center, provides the children—and their families—an opportunity to engage with objects in the Center’s galleries, providing opportunities to look and respond to art.

The Discovery Museums of Acton MA offers its Especially for Me program series, which offers free evenings for families with children on the autism spectrum in conjunction with the Autism Alliance of MetroWest.

The Friendship Workshop for Families Affected by Autism at the Queens Museum of Art is a 6 week series utilizing the creative arts to explore social skills and the language of friendship funded by VSA NYC. This series is intended for early childhood and sessions are inspired by children’s books, with the goal of enhancing the parent-child learning dyad for families affected by autism.  The museum also offers a club for teens on the spectrum.

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