Autism summer 2021
It has been a very long year but as the national lockdown eases around the country more and more outdoor places and museums are opening up again, while maintaining the relevant safety precautions that have been implemented since COVID-19 began. We know many autistic young people and families may be feeling anxious about the easing of restrictions, and may need further support and reassurance to access activities this summer.
In this blog we have highlighted South-East based attractions that have a strong track record of providing autism-friendly experiences, for those who may wish for something different to do during the summer holidays.
Tower Bridge is a famous, imposing bridge connecting Southwark with Tower Hamlets. The iconic tourist attraction hosts a multitude of events around the year in which you can explore inside the bridge and learn all about how it was made and all the inner workings. This summer they will host a range of relaxed openings in which sounds will be turned off and disability advisors will be on hand to answer any questions.
The Postal Museum
Ambitious about Autism has worked with the Postal Museum to bring a calming yet educational experience to young autistic people when they visit, called Relaxed Events.
You get a free goody bag full of wonderful sensory toys all inspired by things displayed in the museum which tells the history of the Royal Mail from its beginnings all the way through to the present day. You can also ride the Mail Rail tunnels which go through an old Royal Mail tunnel.
Museum of London
Learn all about the history of London and what makes the city tick in the Museum of London. From exploring a Saxon home to walking through a Victorian shopping street, the museum has plenty of things to do for families and also offers activity sheets and word games for children to get involved.
For autistic visitors, the museum offers child-size ear defenders and its Morning Explorer events are specifically designed for families with autistic children. Sensory maps are also available.
Natural History Museum
If you or your child are interested in all things prehistoric then the National History Museum’s recently launched Dawnasaurs may be right up your alley. It is a free event for children aged five to 15 with neurodiverse conditions, their siblings and families.
The event allows families to explore the museum at a quieter time supported by experts who understand autism. You must book a free ticket in advance to attend.
The Mary Rose
The Mary Rose was a ship in Henry VIII’s navy. It capsized off the coast of Portsmouth in 1545 taking 500 crew with her. The ship was returned to the surface during a massive salvage operation in 1982, watched by millions of people worldwide. Now a major visitor attraction in Portsmouth, the museum also hosts autism-friendly events every month.
These Relaxed Openings or Lights Up mornings involve sound effects being turned down and lights being beamed at a higher level. Volunteers and staff are on hand to guide autistic visitors and their families around.
About the author
Solmaz Farad is a freelance blogger. She loves writing, and also has interests in music, technology and beauty products.