Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and Partners Offer New, Free “My Turn” Program for Families Affected by ASD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MARCH 8, 2016 -- ANN ARBOR, MICH. --- The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, along with partner organizations Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Leslie Science & Nature Center, Therapeutic Riding, Inc., University of Michigan Museum of Art, and University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, is launching My Turn, a free monthly program designed to provide events specifically for families with children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The first My Turn event will be held at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History on April 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

My Turn offers ASD families a less sensory stimulating, crowd-free environment to explore popular venues at their own pace and in their own way, including an option to participate in specially designed hands-on activities. My Turn provides online prep materials for each program, including social stories and picture schedules. Each venue will also offer families a designated quiet room that includes weighted lap pads and tactile toys from a sensory tool kit.

Noted expert Dr. Roger E. Lauer, clinical director, Center for Neuropsychology Learning & Development, will lead trainings for all of the participating organizations, with an emphasis on sensory friendly events.

"The My Turn program provides an extraordinary experience for children and their families that is not available anywhere else in their world,” said Lauer. “Tapping into their passion for learning, these organizations have developed sensory friendly events to support ASD children. Each organization offers a friendly and welcoming environment that meets the needs of children with passionate and focused interests. Come and enjoy as many of these activities as possible!"

Echoing Dr. Lauer’s support for My Turn is Gwen Dunlap, president of the board of Aim High School, who said, “Aim High School opened its doors in 2011 to serve young people with ASD - and other learning differences - because all too often these young people fall through society's cracks, never realizing their true educational and social potential. Like Aim High, the My Turn program is designed to provide young people with ASD the opportunity to learn and explore our community's educational and cultural treasures at their pace and in a modified atmosphere. The My Turn partner organizations will create many positive experiences and happy memories for our community's ASD children--just like they have been doing for all our children since they opened their doors.”

My Turn will be offered on the second Sunday of each month. Program times will vary, but all will be offered before each venue is open to the public. Each My Turn partner will determine how their venue will be used, which spaces and galleries will be open, and what types of programming will be offered. Each venue will also determine a recommended age range for their programming, however, all ages will be welcome.

For more information on My Turn, visit MyTurnCommunity.org or email myturn@aahom.org.

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