Accessible & Enjoyable
The Museum Of Science and Industry (MOSI) has been among the first in the Tampa Bay Community to develop accommodations and programming with the intent to make its venue more accessible and enjoyable for those with developmental disabilities. For the past decade, cultural institutions like MOSI, all over the country, have been reaching out to families and experts to see how they can better accommodate those with autism and other disabilities.
“We really focus on the experience for all our guests,” says MOSI’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Lamke. “If part of an experience can cause stress or over-stimulation, we want an individual and family to know beforehand. Understanding all of our guest’s needs is what we think will most positively impact the experience and memorable takeaway from MOSI.”
To help create a sensory-friendly environment, MOSI enlisted the help of some community partners. The first connection they made was with C.A.R.D. (Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) at the University of South Florida to become an “Autism Friendly Business”. Next, MOSI reached out to Keiser University and its Pediatric Occupational Therapy School. Partnering with Keiser will help MOSI design and support programs and camps for those with sensory needs, as well as give the students from Keiser the opportunity for real world practice and training. Finally, to gain insight into support and other areas, the museum will work with Believe It and Achieve It – Kid Pro Therapy, a clinic providing pediatric occupational and physical therapy as well as speech therapy.
MOSI also provides “Distract Packs”, provided by C.A.R.D for guests at the Guest Services Desk in the lobby. “Distract Packs” are plastic bins full of sensory toys and activities for children who may need to have something to help them manage difficult situations. Additionally, labels have been placed on exhibits that may be loud or create an environment sensory guests may not enjoy.
In the future, MOSI is committed to continuing and growing these accommodations. Part of this effort will be to host Day of Discovery events that will allow guests with any disability the opportunity to experience the museum in a calmer and quieter environment, outside of normal operating hours.
To find out more about MOSI and their inclusion efforts, go to MOSI.org or call 813-987-6000.