By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN –The Henry Ford’s mission, to provide unique and engaging experiences for its visitors, has led to recognition and financial reward for its innovative programs for families seeking sensory-friendly programs.
The Autism Alliance of Michigan bestowed its Seal of Approval, an endorsement given to Michigan organizations and businesses which develop programs to accommodate and welcome those on the autistic spectrum, allowing them to comfortably enjoy activities with their families.
The Henry Ford CEO and President Patricia Mooradian said that for the past 20 year, THF has sought to make the museum and village a safe and welcoming experience for all its members and guests.
“We are honored to have received this endorsement from our friends at AAoM, and value their partnership and assistance in making the institution accessible to all,” she said.
THF also was awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to expand its current sensory-friendly public programming, and to develop programs which allow those with Autism spectrum disorder or sensory processing disorder to more readily access THF’s collections, programming and special events.
The funding will support additional staff training, in partnership with AAoM, using the IMLS grant funding, to broaden awareness and develop staff programming and service skill sets.
The grant will also allow THF to expand its sensory-friendly programing to 13 to 15 events per year, with the goal of reaching more than 18,000 guests with ASD/SPD and their families in the next three years.
A new program for ASD/SPD teens and adults will focus on activities which develop social skills as well as encourage educational engagement.
The programs will extend to daily visits and special events, and will remove economic barriers by waiving admission fees as part of the ASD/SPD accommodations.
The pandemic currently impacts much of THF’s programing. For additional, up-to-date information, go to thehenryford.org.