Without the proper support, children diagnosed with autism often can encounter difficulties in life, placing stress on themselves and family members. But the Dallas Museum of Art tries to ease that by reaching out and connecting with autistic children through two programs.
In 2010, the DMA founded the Autism Awareness Family Celebrations program and the Hands-On Summer Art Camp for Children with Autism.
Amanda Blake, head of Family, Access and School Experience, realized that there was a huge demand for the autism program.
“We strive for the programs to be inclusive here at the DMA,” Blake said. “Our goal is to get families here and get them comfortable, so they can eventually branch out into other areas of the museum.”
The autism program is funded by DMA members and donors, the residents of Dallas through the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
Roughly 8,400 people have gone through the program, and the DMA partnered with Texas Women’s University in Denton to create a “sensory” room for “occupational therapy students,” The Dallas Morning News reported.
While teaching the students to become more independent while expressing themselves, the program and summer camp also incorporate a musical therapist and art-making stations for its students.
“The DMA has become a place where the entire family can go, including Dennis’ younger brother Henry, a place where the Schusses can be themselves, free of worry and full of fun,” said Rachel Schulz, an educator and a mother on an autistic son named Dennis,
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