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Making Balboa Park museums more accessible for those with autism.

From January to December 2017, the Social Stories Spectrum Project will provide a structured opportunity for high-functioning verbal young adults (ages 18-25) with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to meet up with their peers and practice social skills, participate in organized trips to seven museums in Balboa Park, and work together to create “social stories” for the museums visited. This opportunity is made possible in part through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Read more about the project below.

Funded by: imls_logo_black.jpg Supported by: Balboa-Park-Cultural-Partnership-Logo-RGB.jpg Explorer_logo.jpg nfar_logo.png

A Glimpse at Who We Really Are

Posted: December 28, 2017

Guest blogger Austin John Jones, a participant in the Social Stories Spectrum Project, writes about his experience in this program and shares his perceptive on the different faces of autism.  Read more.

Our meetups with the young adults with autism have been very busy over the last few months. We have been building out our first social stories from the framework for museum visits. Read more.

How do we go about meeting the diverse sensory needs of each young adult in the Social Stories Spectrum Project? The participants arrive by train, bus, cars, and Uber drivers from various parts of the county and city. They gather together for four hours, explore museums, and co-create social stories together. All of this activity can be very challenging, especially for those young adults in our group that have sensory processing challenges. Read more.

When you think about going to visit a museum, chances are, you just do it without any additional thoughts. But for the young adults with autism with whom we are working, we needed to break down the museum visit to give some structure to the activity, as well as some structure for the forthcoming social story. Read more.

We are off and running with the Social Stories Spectrum Project meetups. On January 19 after weeks of planning, sorting of details, and suppressing our own nervous energy, we finally got to participate in our first meetup with nine incredible high-functioning young adults with autism.  Read more.

The Social Stories Spectrum Project has officially kicked off. Project partners and advisors met for the first time last week to work through the details of launching the project, learn about autism, and just try to get our heads wrapped around how to proceed in general. This project is not only new to and innovative for the museum community, it has literally never been done before. With that comes a certain level of intensity in terms of the amount of work that needs to be done to see it through, but that is welcomed with open arms.  Read more.

Are you a high-functioning verbal young adult, 18-25 years old, who has autism and who can participate in activities without the assistance of a parent or aid? If so, we would love for you to apply to be a part of the Social Stories Spectrum Project.  Read more.

Museums provide opportunities for individuals, families, and groups to spend quality time together in an interactive environment that aims to foster a sense of community and enjoyment. However, museums can sometimes be overwhelming for individuals with autism. TheNAT recently received a grant to collaborate with high-functioning young adults with autism to co-create “social stories” for our Museum and six others in Balboa Park.  Read more.