Going to the museum for the first time can be an exciting experience for children, but for some, it can also be overwhelming. To help make museum-going a more inclusive and enjoyable experience for everyone, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs created a very special pre-visit guide called "Going to the Museum." Using the principals of Universal Design, Going to the Museum was created for children with Sensory Processing Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in mind, but can also be used as an effective tool to teach any child museum etiquette and help prepare them for what to expect when visiting a museum.
Depicted in comic book style with easy-to-understand language and accompanied by delightful “anime-like” illustrations of friendly animals, “Going to the Museum” explains what to expect when visiting a museum such as an art, history, science or children’s museum. The story highlights key events and situations that visitors are likely to encounter along the way, such as unfamiliar people, waiting in line, darkened spaces, and unexpected or sometimes loud sounds. The guide also includes an introduction with brief instructions on how readers can personalize the story with additional dialogue and descriptions in order to create their own version of “Going to the Museum.”
The intent and application of using “Going to the Museum” specifically to assist children with Sensory Processing Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), is based on the best practices of using Social StoriesTM (thegraycenter.org/social-stories) and visual/picture schedules to assist children with autism. These stories are commonly used to teach children and individuals with autism social skills for everyday situations. The story is a simple description of a typical situation written from the individual’s perspective, and which can be used in a variety of situations. For example, the stories can help the individual prepare for upcoming changes in routine (often extremely stressful for individuals with autism), or learn appropriate social interactions for unfamiliar situations that they encounter. The intent is that the child rehearses the story ahead of time with an adult. Then, when the situation occurs, the child can use the story to help guide his or her behavior. Picture schedules utilize visual images presented in sequential order (for example: first, then, next, last) to assist children with sequencing tasks, as well as preparing for and transitioning from one activity to another. As with using Social StoriesTM, visual/picture schedules help prepare a child in a step-by-step manner for what to expect in a given situation.
View Going to the Museum (English/Spanish)
View Going to the Museum (English/Creole)
To request printed copies or classroom posters of Going to the Museum, click here.