I’m really excited to introduce you to my new friends Monica and her 6-year old son, Jesse, who is on the autism spectrum. The Simon family recently visited the museum for the first time during Variety’s Autism Access Night on Saturday, March 27th and wanted to share their experience with all of us. Read on for the full recap and stay tuned for more events like this later this year!
"An e-mail from Variety Club invited us to Please Touch Museum on a special night where it was just open for families with autism. I say "families" because truly not just the one person is affected but the whole family lives "autism." Variety Club definitely understands this and I know they would only plan events where they know the same philosophy is shared by all parties involved.
I thought about taking my three kids to Please Touch Museum when it re-opened at Memorial Hall back in 2008, but I didn’t really know too much about it. This event was the perfect opportunity. I was a bit concerned about a visit because my 6-year old son Jesse is autistic. His 11-year old brother and 16-year old sister are very patient with him, but would a whole crowd be that patient, too?
Some of our concerns were the crowds and how other kids would interact with Jesse since he does not speak, but uses a talking device. Worse yet, the stares from staff members we have experienced during visits to other locations…
From the moment we walked in the door and saw all of the staff in their purple shirts, I knew we would have nothing to worry about. You could feel the excitement and commitment throughout the museum. The staff was amazing and I would give them all a huge gold star. From the moment we parked the car they were there to greet us and even played ball with the kids while waiting in line, which I found to be so thoughtful and just a warm way to welcome these special kids. My mommy gut told me this was going to be a great place.
The staff could not do enough for us and it made the visit so much more meaningful. They really cared about my child and that he had a great time "like a regular kid." For three hours we saw smiles, heard giggles, gave lots of high 5's and went home pooped! I know that my son can't wait to see the SEPTA bus again, ride the Carousel, and go shopping at the Supermarket. My entire family can’t wait to visit again!
As a special needs parent, nights like this are often hard to come by. I so appreciate all that Please Touch Museum does for families of children with special needs."