Video: Autistic Friendly Museums - Partner News
Exit Foundation within the framework of the Autism. Friendly Environment”invited American specialists to share with their Russian colleagues the experience of adapting museums for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
On December 2, at the Garage educational center, anthropologist, president and founder of Turnstile Tours, co-chair of the NYC Museum Accessibility Consortium Cynthia Vandenbosch and medical translator, executive director of the New York Accessible Environments non-profit organization Sofia Rossowski spoke to the public.
Cynthia told representatives of the Moscow Department of Culture, employees of museums in the capital, parents of children with ASD and specialists working with them, how her company implements its unique projects. Turnstile Tours partners with non-profit organizations to develop excursion programs for people with disabilities.
Cynthia Vandenbosch used examples to show how to create a harmonious, inclusive environment in the museum and in the museum community as a whole. She advised to prepare the museum itself in a special way, making bright signs, marking too noisy or bright places, creating excursion maps with visualization, conducting appropriate trainings with the staff, introducing visitors to the action plan in advance, and perhaps even creating a separate website.
The President of Turnstile Tours emphasized that museums have a lot to do for people with ASD: help with self-expression and self-fulfillment, promote the establishment and development of social bonds and much more. That is why such excursion and creative museum programs are so important in a world where people with autism are becoming more and more: according to statistics, today 1 out of 6 children have mental retardation, 1 out of 68 children are diagnosed with ASD.
In her speech, Sofia Rossowski emphasized the socialization and vocational guidance of people with disabilities. She described how they are hired. According to her, these people, as a rule, work as volunteers so as not to lose state social benefits. They need work not to earn money, but in order not to be isolated from society.
Sofia also encouraged all those present: “Sinitia and I present only a few methods of working with special visitors to museums in New York with different expositions, opportunities and tasks. You, too, represent various cultural organizations, you have your own path, and it is not at all necessary to use these specific presented tools, it is important to just start somewhere."
Pictured is Cynthia Vandenbosch, Anthropologist, President and Founder of Turnstile Tours, Co-Chair of the NYC Museum Accessibility Consortium Photo: Vladislav Kobets