Science Museum Early Bird Autism Friendly Sessions – Revisited

Science Museum London – Early Bird Autism Friendly Visits, Back in October Autism Daily Newscast reported about the Autism Friendly sessions offered by the Science Museum. Claire had contacted us about the Museum to tell us of how well the sessions were organised and that more Museums need to adopt an Autism friendly approach.

We were contacted again by Claire this week as she had revisited the Museum, this time without her children, to attend another Early Bird Autism session. She wrote a blog about the event of which we have permission to share with our readers.

“I thought I would like to go back to another of their Early Bird Autism sessions, I would like to go back and learn more. Why they decided to put the event on, how they went about it, what problems they faced. If they can do it why aren’t other museums doing it too?”

Claire spent time with members of the learning team at the Science Museum and asked questions about their Early Bird sessions.

“It was a chance for me to let them know how important these events are, but also discover the other side of the coin, all the work that has gone on to get to this point.”

Claire noted in her blog that by opening up early for these sessions the surrounding area is quiet, something which can very easily be overlooked.

claire 2“Museums sometimes forget that the barriers to visiting are outside the museum: tubes, buses, cars, long busy journeys. I know these can’t all be removed but the way can be smoothed. A lot of work goes into planning an event like this but sometimes a little information on your website can go a long way. When are the quiet times? Which entrance to the museum is best? Sometimes you have to reach out beyond the museum walls, to think about accessibility on broader terms.”

Numbers are restricted to the Early Bird Sessions and only families who have pre booked are allowed to visit.

The Science Museum ran a number of events during the Early Bird Session. On the ground floor children could make their own car to race up and down the hallway and there was a dressing up area in which children could dress as an alien or astronaut and have their photograph taken.

Claire was particularly impressed with the layout of the activities and space provided. They even allocated a ‘chill out area’.

Claire says in her blog:

claire 4“But I guess what I love more than anything is just allowing children to enjoy the museum space, the high ceilings, large displays, corridors and galleries. Not all are open but there is certainly more than enough to keep you busy. It is a freedom to let parents, children and families decide where they want their museum experience to take them.”

Claire ends by saying that Museums really need to think about how they can reach out to Autistic families.

“If you are a museum professional please read up about the problems autistic families face and how you can help”

She then adds:

“All I really want to say is go, give yourself a chance to have a day out at the museum, you will regret it if you don’t.”

The next Science Museum Early Bird Autism Session will be in March 2014. More information can be found on the Science Museum website
Claire’s blog Tincture of Museum can be read here
You can follow Claire on twitter