Eureka! The National Children’s Museum has launched the latest strand of its award-winning initiative aimed at helping disabled children and their families enjoy their experience of this award-winning attraction.
Eureka! launched The Eureka! Story, a bespoke guide designed for, and with, children withcommunication or sensory difficulties, as part of its three year Helping Hands project, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Children on the autism spectrum can feel overwhelmed by a visit to any unfamiliar place, and a visit to a colourful and busy museum like Eureka! can provoke a sensory overload. Designed in close consultation with children, parents, and professionals from Cliffe Hill School in Halifax, West Yorkshire, The Eureka! Story is a visual, step-by-step guide to the entire museum experience so that children can familiarise themselves with everything that they will experience before they arrive. The Eureka! Story is available free via the Eureka! website:www.eureka.org.uk/eurekastory
Trizia Wells, Eureka!’s Helping Hands Project Lead, explains: “The Eureka! Story is a simple but effective tool that visualises the whole experience, meaning that parents and teachers can prepare children with loads of visual prompts. For us the most exciting thing about this project is that it puts the child’s experience firmly at the centre and has been road tested by children who will be using it.”
Rachel Halford, mother of 12-year-old Jack who helped on the project said: “The Eureka! story will have a positive impact because it is really difficult to take autistic children anywhere. Having something that tells you everything to expect and written in the way that the children can understand is unique. As a parent I think it’s absolutely invaluable. As someone who tries to take a child to places to have fun, I do think that Eureka! is truly inclusive and you don’t really get that anywhere else.”
The Eureka! Story now forms part of a range of ways that Eureka! has introduced over the past two years to maximise the way it engages disabled children and their families. These include activity clubs, bookable visits supported by Eureka! staff, special welcome greetings for children with communication difficulties and a range of resources to help children enjoy their visit.
This year Eureka! was awarded Bronze in the Access for All category of the highly coveted VisitEngland Awards.