Sharjah becomes more inclusive

Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) has launched its pioneering ‘Autism Friendly Museums’ initiative, as part of its ongoing commitment to make all of its museums fully accessible to every member of society. This educational project is a first-of-its-kind in the Arabian Gulf and has been carefully designed to cater to the needs of autistic children.

 The ‘Autism Friendly Museums’ initiative has been organised by SMA’s Education and Interpretation Department to give autistic children the rare opportunity to visit a museum and experience the collections on show for themselves.

This initiative is in line with both the UAE’s national policy of empowering people with disabilities and the guiding principles of HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who instructed that "museums are made to educate our children and our future generations."

During their visit the youngsters will experience a range of stimulating sensory activities and fun individual and group events alongside opportunities to use the museum's collection as part of their learning experience. As part of the program, Sharjah Archaeology Museum will host tours and educational sessions that have been created with the needs of autistic children in mind.

Manal Ataya, director general of Sharjah Museums Authority, said: “The ‘Autism Friendly Museums’ initiative is a key part of SMA’s drive to make all our museums fully accessible by creating an open and inclusive educational environment.

“We look forward to expanding the ‘Autism Friendly Museums’ initiative to include all SMA museums and providing autistic children with the opportunity to discover and experience the wonderful exhibits.”