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Go Ask Mom

Museum of Life and Science plans special activities for Autism Awareness Day

Posted March 27
Updated March 28

Visitors are encouraged to take off their shoes and walk, run and move along the various surfaces.
Credit: Adam Kissick Photography

The Museum of Life and Science in Durham and the University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program will host a day of activities this weekend designed for those with autism.

On Sunday, during Autism Awareness Day, the museum will open early, at 10 a.m., exclusively for families with children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The museum will open at noon, Sunday, to all visitors, but will remain sensory friendly until closing.

On Sunday morning, visitors can explore indoor and outdoor exhibits in a relaxed, sensory friendly atmosphere. Cool-down areas and visual supports also will be available throughout the day, along with programs where visitors can learn more about living with ASD.

Tickets for the general public are $10 per person between 10 a.m. and noon, Sunday. Regular admission rates apply after noon. Sensory friendly train tickets are $3 per member and $4 per non-member.

Here are some of the special activities planned for the day, according to a press release:

Sensory Friendly Science
Sensory modifications to popular exhibits such as the Ellerbe Creek Railway will include a whistle-free ride, optional noise cancelling headphones, and a "checklist" to help guests prepare for their ride. Additional exhibit modifications throughout the museum's campus include low noise areas, "cool-down" opportunities, and optional visual supports such as schedules, activity systems and countdowns to help with the transition between environments.   

Investigate Health Lab & TEACCH Activities
From 10 a.m. to noon, the museum's Investigate Health Lab will feature relaxation focused activities developed and delivered by TEACCH staff members for ASD participants and their families. Lab activities from noon to 4 p.m. will include educational resources and programs which provide perspective about living with autism. Many of the resources and tools used during Autism Awareness Day will be made available online and at the museum's main admission desk for future visitor use.

The TEACCH Autism Program offers parent support and clinical services for individuals with ASD, regardless of their age.

"Individuals with autism spectrum disorder, along with their families, often struggle to access social and recreational events in the community," said Katie Brady, TEACCH Clinical Instructor and Autism Specialist, in the press release. "By collaborating with the Museum of Life and Science, we plan to create more inclusive opportunities for museum guests with ASD, as well as promote acceptance and understanding of autism spectrum disorder in the general public. We hope that many families will enjoy this opportunity to access the museum and have a fun, positive, successful outing."

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  • Ct Newman Mar 28, 3:52 p.m.
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    I realize that with this special day, folks are trying to reach out to the community in a good way. But last year I supported a bond which advertised "Durham’s Museum of Life and Science seeks $14M bond to sustain wonder". So I supported a 14 MILLION DOLLAR Bond, and now you want to charge individuals with Autism (who most cannot work due to disabilities) a $10 entrance fee. And since most cannot arrived by themselves, let's kick in an extra $10 for their guardian.How thoughtful of the kind folks at the Museum of Life and Science. I am so disappointed.