The Children’s Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton announced this week that it will begin hosting a “sensory-friendly morning” the first Saturday of every month from 8 to 10 a.m.
Created through a partnership with the Water Mill-based Flying Point Foundation for Autism, the mornings will provide special museum access for families with children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorders.
“Many young children in our community have sensory processing issues that make accessing the wonderful programming at many East End venues a challenge,” said Kim Covell, the president of the Flying Point Foundation, and also an assistant editor for the Express News Group. “We are grateful to CMEE for recognizing this and creating an opportunity for those with sensory issues to enjoy such a wonderful place.”
According to Autism Speaks Inc., the largest autism advocacy organization in the United States, in 2013, the American Psychiatric Association added sensory sensitivities to the symptoms that help diagnose autism.
Autism’s sensory issues can involve sensitivities to a wide range of stimuli, including sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, balance and body awareness. For example, some people on the spectrum are hypersensitive to bright lights or certain light wavelengths, such as those of fluorescent lights. In addition, according to the Autism Speaks website, many people on the spectrum find certain sounds, smells and tastes overwhelming, and certain types of touch can feel extremely uncomfortable.
Visitors at CMEE will be able to enjoy light and sound reduction in the exhibits, quiet rooms, and an intentionally less-crowded museum during sensory-friendly mornings.
“We’re continually finding innovative ways to ensure all families can learn and play at CMEE by partnering with organizations like Flying Point Foundation for Autism,” Steve Long, president of CMEE, said in a release. “The real strength of the museum isn’t just our number of visitors; it’s the deep connections we make in the community.”
As space is purposely limited, preregistration is required. The museum will open to the general public beginning at 10 a.m. on sensory-friendly mornings.C