Sharjah museums are autism-friendly

As part of its ongoing commitment to make all of its museums fully accessible to every member of society, Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) has launched its pioneering ‘Autism Friendly Museums’ initiative.

Taking place at Sharjah Archaeology Museum, the 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 aged between 7 and 12 years old.

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.

The ‘Autism Friendly Museums’ initiative is in line with both the UAE’s national policy of empowering people with disabilities and the guiding principles of His Highness 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."

The ‘Autism Friendly Museums’ initiative has been organized 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.

As part of the programme, 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.

“By welcoming autistic youngsters to Sharjah Archaeology Museum, SMA is building an important connection with some of the most talented members of our society and their families.

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