Rugby museum launches sessions for autistic children - The Rugby Observer

Rugby museum launches sessions for autistic children

Rugby Editorial 26th Dec, 2018   0

SESSIONS for children on the autism spectrum have begun at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

The Relaxed Hour has been launched in partnership with the Rugby Autism Network, creating a calm, quiet environment where children can explore the Art Gallery, Museum and World Rugby Hall of Fame while parents and carers enjoy a break.

The sessions, devised by the venue’s arts development team, aim to reduce factors which can cause youngsters on the autism spectrum to become anxious or distressed.

For each session, the venue closes to the public and reduces the volume of audio and visual installations.

Children can wear ear defenders while exploring the building and visit a ‘blackout tent’ to escape the hustle and bustle. The sessions also include a specially-tailored art and craft workshop, and a ‘time out’ room which has a range of items to stimulate the senses.

Sally Godden, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s arts development officer, said: “Working with the Rugby Autism Network, we were able to identify many of the challenges which families with autism face when visiting a busy venue.

“The Relaxed Hour caters for children from four years old. We’ve had positive feedback from parents who currently have few options when it comes to entertaining children in an autism-friendly environment.”

Estimates suggest more than one in every 100 people in the UK has autism spectrum disorder, which affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.

Rugby Autism Network was launched in 2009 by Fay McSorley to offer support to families with children on the spectrum and organise autism-friendly events.

Fay said: “Autism-friendly events are still rare in Rugby and we encourage all organisations considering offering them to consult with autistic people, parents and carers to find out what is really needed, as it’s not always as obvious as one might think.”

The next Relaxed Hour takes place on Thursday December 27 at 4pm, with further sessions taking place in February and April next year. Visit for more information.

Visit for more information on the Rugby Autism Network.

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