Ontario Science Centre celebrates neurodiversity with Sensory-friendly Saturdays
TORONTO – Embrace and celebrate neurodiversity at the Ontario Science Centre on Sensory-friendly Saturdays! Working in close collaboration with Geneva Centre for Autism, the Science Centre developed family-friendly programs — including an open-format planetarium experience, current research and accessible technology — to enhance accessibility for those affected with sensory processing difficulties and neurodevelopmental disorders. Sensory-friendly Saturdays runs March 31, April 7, April 14 and April 21.
“The Ontario Science Centre strives to make science available to everyone. Sensory-friendly Saturdays is an effort to make the Centre — and science — easier to navigate for visitors with sensory processing challenges” said Maurice Bitran, CEO and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre. “This partnership furthers our commitment to be accessible to the different communities we serve.”
Launching ahead of World Autism Awareness Day, Sensory-friendly Saturdays is open to everyone and is appropriate for all ages and abilities. Special programs include a relaxed, drop-in planetarium experience; research conducted on-site by Bloorview Research Institute’s Autism Research Centre; practical workshops for children and their caregivers facilitated by the Geneva Centre for Autism; and an accessible technology showcase , featuring emerging assistive and adaptive technologies from Awake Labs, Baycrest, BEACON Digital Therapy and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.
“Many families with children who have neurodevelopmental disorders face a number of barriers to visiting and getting the most out of museums and attractions,” said Nancy Bent, Manager, Communications and Marketing, Geneva Centre for Autism. “In collaborating with the Ontario Science Centre to develop adaptive and inclusive programming, we’re breaking down these barriers together, allowing children and their families to more fully enjoy educational and cultural experiences.”
The Ontario Science Centre is a unique — and often bustling — environment that emphasizes self-directed discovery through hands-on engagement. To prepare those affected with sensory processing difficulties and neurodevelopmental disorders for their visit, the Science Centre has created a comprehensive social story booklet. From waiting in line to safety rules to museum noises, it includes photos and simple explanations of what can be expected when visiting the Science Centre. This free social learning tool is available for download.
Sensory-friendly Saturdays programs are included with general admission. For program descriptions and to purchase tickets, please visit OntarioScienceCentre.ca.
Guided by our mission to inspire passion for the human adventure of discovery, the Ontario Science Centre strives to be a global leader in lifelong learning; a vital link in Ontario’s education and innovation ecosystems; and a convener of public dialogue about technology, science and society. The Centre has welcomed more than 52 million visitors since opening as a Centennial project in 1969, pioneering an interactive approach now adopted by science centres around the world. An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Centre relies on funding from the province, as well as donations from generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share the Centre’s vision to contribute to a more curious, creative and resilient world. Learn more at OntarioScienceCentre.ca.
Geneva Centre for Autism is an international leader in the development and delivery of clinical intervention services and training. As a full service agency, Geneva Centre for Autism offers personalized, strength based programming for over 3,000 individuals and families in Toronto. Our Training Institute and International Autism Symposium build professional capacity worldwide to empower all individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to reach their full potential. Learn more at Autism.net.