If you were visiting the Museum on Sunday morning March 4th, you might have been surprised to see half a dozen golden Labradors Retrievers strolling around. These dogs, mostly 10-11 month old puppies, are in training to become skilled canine companion dogs. ‘Puppy raisers’ and their charges visited Exploring Our Way to share information with families about the Canine Companions for Independence Program, which provides trained dogs to work with an adult or child with a disability, including Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Autism Partnership Program, Exploring Our Way, debuted in March 2010 after many months of planning with a dedicated committee of advisors. Since then, the museum has opened its doors one Sunday per month exclusively for families raising a child on the autism spectrum. Exploring Our Way offers a quieter, less crowded environment in which to explore museum exhibits with the goal of providing the best opportunity for a successful museum visit. Siblings are invited too, so the entire family can enjoy a fun outing together.
In the safe and welcoming surroundings of the Children’s Museum children with Autism Spectrum Disorder explore at their own pace, become familiar with the museum’s exhibits, and may feel comfortable enough to increase the length of time of their visit. We invite families to consider visiting during public hours, if their child is comfortable enough, and give them free admission passes in case they want to make the transition.
We also introduce families to new resources and services, like Canine Companions for Independence, by inviting representatives to come to Exploring Our Way and share information with parents. Check the Exploring Our Way page on our website and Facebook to learn more about upcoming special guests.
Exploring Our Way will not happen on April 1st as the Museum will be closed for Easter Sunday. We look forward to seeing you on May 6th!