It was such a success in 2012 that The Discovery Musueums decided is was necessary to expand it.
Especially for Me, a series of free events for families with children on the autism spectrum and families with children with hearing loss, increased its planned events from 12 in 2012 to 16 for 2013.
“Providing free, closed-to-the-public hours for these children to play and learn in a hands-on museum setting — without the crowds and ambient noise that could otherwise mar their experience — is a unique opportunity for us,” CEO Neil Gordon said in a release. “We feel it is important that these families receive support from institutions within their own community such as ours.”
Especially for Me is part of the Museums’ Open Door Connections program to provide opportunities for those who face a variety of barriers — financial, geographic, developmental, or cultural — to experience the Museums.
Evenings for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum will take place on the following Saturdays from 5:30-8:30 p.m. (the first was held Jan. 12):
- March 23
- April 27
- May 18
- July 27
- Oct. 19
- Nov. 23
- Dec. 14.
Evenings for Families with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children will take place on the following Saturdays from 5:30-8:30 p.m. (the first was held Feb. 2):
- Feb. 2
- May 11
- Aug. 17
- Nov. 16.
Mornings for Families with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children will take place on the following Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.:
- March 4
- May 6
- Sept. 30 and one more to be scheduled.
Due to the unique nature of their needs, children on the autism spectrum and with hearing loss can benefit from having time reserved for them apart from the general public, the Museums said in a release. Parents of children on the autism spectrum can feel hesitant to visit museums because new environments, ambient noise, and crowds can upset these children.
Similarly, parents of babies who are newly diagnosed with hearing loss often feel reluctant to explore community resources since they themselves are only just learning how to communicate with their young child, manage technology such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, and deal with children’s exuberance, particularly in novel and stimulating environments.
Pre-registration is required and may be done within a month of each event through the museum’s website, discoverymuseums.org. Funding for the 2013 Especially for Me series is provided by Hologic, MathWorks, DCU for Kids and The Acton-Boxborough Regional High School’s Youth in Philanthropy Club.