What: MUSEUM DAY LIVE
WHEN: SEPTEMBER 27th, 2014
HOW: Maximize Speech-Language Skills via Guide: Here
Those of us living in the Greater Washington D.C. area are blessed with an abundance of riches when it comes to museums. The Smithsonian Institute alone has 16 museums within the District...and they are all FREE. They offer a wonderful opportunity for both adults and kids alike to transport themselves through time, via scultpures, spaceships, or million-year-old dinosaur fossils.
This Saturday, September 27th 2014 will be a great day for all museum-goers because many more of our local mesuems will offer FREE admission (with a printed out ticket!) for Museum Day Live.
Speech Explorers is a big fan of Museum Day Live, because it gives everyone an opportunity to take advantage of the Arts in our community. Yes...EVERYONE...of all economic backgrounds as well as physical or cognitive abilities .
It's not always easy, however, to take a kid with differences out into the world, especially to a museum. All kids, though, including those with physical, sensory, cognitive, and/or communicative differences, should have the opportunity to experience museums in our community...especially on an occasion like Museum Day Live!
Jean Winegardner, local mom and author of www.stimeyland.com, can attest to this, "Taking my kids to museums is something that is tough for my kids. I have an almost 13yo who is good at going to museums, an 11yo on the spectrum, and a 9yo who has a lot of sensory issues. Museums are tough for us because of conflicting needs." Winegardner completely understands how different people take in information in different ways, and she expressed that having a variety of delivery methods (video, audio tours, interactives, models, dioramas, etc.) can help get the information to people who might learn differently than the norm.
In terms of preparing her kids before they head to museums, Winegardner shared a few tips with us, "I think to prepare my kids, it helps to let them know what we'll be looking at and get them excited about it. Like, when we went to the National Archives, we talked a lot about National Treasure, a movie they loved that was partially set there. I try to set expectations (we'll leave after two hours) and stick to them even if it seems like things are going well. It helps to look at online museum materials ahead of time so you can decide which exhibits are must visits, which are try-to-get-tos and which are not of interest."
Winegardner is sure to take along items she knows will help relax or distract them, "I take iPads or DS systems so if they get overwhelmed they can take a break and chill out with something that comes easy to them. I also try to remember to take noise canceling headphones for my kiddos."
For musuems that do not cater to non-neuro-typical kids (there are some that do (featured in an upcoming blog-post) , there are some small adjustments that museums could make that would be helpful, says Winegardner: 1) benches placed near exhibits would be great (for tired kids), 2) Quiet and maybe even slightly darkened rooms where they can get a break from all the sensory stimuli would be helpful, and 3. Manipulatives and high interest exhibits are helpful for sensory seekers and kids who have a hard time looking at things behind glass and reading placards about them."
All kids, including those with physical, sensory, cognitive, and/or communicative differences, should have the opportunity to experience museums in our community...especially on an occasion like Museum Day Live! One step is trying out our guide to get your kids jazzed about museums, and letting their communication skills shine through. Please try it out and share your thoughts below.