The Discovery Museums Continues Especially for MeFree Events for Children with Developmental Challenges Through 2017

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                               Contact: Jill Jacques
February 17, 2017                                                                                                     978-264-4200 ext. 14
The Discovery Museums Continues Especially for MeFree Events for Children with Developmental Challenges Through 2017
Popular series offers free museum access for families of children with an autism spectrum disorder, are deaf or hard of hearing, or have a visual impairment.
ACTON – The Discovery Museums have announced 2017 dates of their Especially for Meschedule of free events for families with children with an autism spectrum disorder and/or with hearing or vision loss.
The popular free program series began in 2010 with just two events and grew to 25 events by 2015. Especially for Me events are designed to offer families an opportunity to play together when the museums are closed to the general public or capacity is limited in order to improve access. Because admission is free, families may come and go based on their child’s needs without concern for cost. Parents also have the chance to meet other families in similar circumstances, thereby reducing feelings of isolation often described by families dealing with special needs.
The Museums provide special resources appropriate to each event which may include noise-reducing headphones, audio-description devices, sensory-based programming, or American Sign Language (ASL) language facilitators. Additionally, food including gluten-free options is provided for all evening events.
The Museums work with various local organizations to serve Especially for Me audiences, provide trainings for Museum staff on topics of inclusion, and provide on-site resources as needed. These include the Boston Children’s Hospital Deaf & Hard of Hearing program, Autism Alliance of MetroWest, Perkins School for the Blind, Massachusetts Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired, and the Decibels Foundation.
All Especially for Me events are free to attend, but preregistration is required. Dates and registration links can be found online at . 
2017 Schedule
Free Sensory-Friendly Afternoons (during public hours, but no school groups or birthday parties will be scheduled at this time) are on the following Tuesdays, 1:30 – 4:30pm: Jan.3, Feb. 7, March 7, April 4, May 2, June 6, Oct. 3, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5. 
Free Autism-Friendly Evenings (closed to the public) are on the following evenings, 5:00 – 8:30pm: Feb. 4, March 11, April 8, May 6, July 15, Aug. 19, Oct. 7 and an additional date to be decided. 
Free Evenings for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, & KODA Children  (closed to the public) are on the following evenings, 5:00 – 8:30pm: Jan. 14, May 20, Aug. 5 and an additional date to be decided.
Free Mornings for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, & KODA Infants and Toddlers (closed to the public) will take place at the Children’s Discovery Museum, 9:30am – 12:00pm, Monday, March 6 and Monday, October 2.  
Free Visually Impaired Family Evenings (closed to the public) are on the following evenings, 5:00 – 8:30pm: April 22 and an additional date to be decided.
Especially for Me is part of the Museums’ Open Door Connections program to provide opportunities for those who face a variety of barriers—financial, developmental, or cultural—to experience the Museums. Open Door Connections and Especially for Me are funded through grants provided by the The TJX Companies, Inc. and Yawkey with additional support from the Digital Federal Credit Union, the Adelard A. Roy and Valdea Lea Roy Foundation, the Nathaniel and Elizabeth P. Stevens Foundation, the Schrafft Charitable Trust, Morgan Stanley, Foundation, Boston Bruins Foundation, BAE Systems, NYPRO and the Local Cultural Councils of Chelmsford, Concord, Harvard, Lexington, Marlborough, Needham, Newton, Stow, Tewksbury, Waltham, and Wayland.
About The Discovery Museums
The Discovery Museums are the children’s and science museums of Metrowest Boston. Two great museums and the Discovery Woods accessible outdoor nature playscape and treehouse—for one admission price—blend the best of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning on a beautiful 4.5-acre campus in Acton, MA, about 20 miles west of Boston. The Museums serve families and schools from towns throughout the region, with a commitment to informal education that enhances classroom learning. The hands-on, playful exhibits, developed by professional educators, inspire curiosity, exploration, and imagination, providing a fun and engaging experience for children and adults to discover their world together. The Discovery Museums are committed to accessibility, and are a proud recipient of the 2017 Massachusetts Commonwealth Award, the only winner in the Access category. For more information please visit The Discovery Museums are an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The Discovery Museums’ programming is supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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