I’m excited by the recent additions of more and more programs offered by cultural institutions to provide services to differing types of disabilities. For years, ADA has meant wheelchair accessibility, and that’s very important, but also important is meeting the needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, those with visual impairments and other types of disabilities beyond providing a ramp into a building. Speaking from the perspective of a parent with a child with autism, I can tell you that my son benefits ENORMOUSLY from cultural institutions like libraries, museums, and concerts when he can manage the sensory issues. I’m happy to share that our local museum the Thinkery here in Austin has provided several days a year specifically geared to the needs of children with autism and other sensory issues. It’s a great way to enjoy things that typical families take for granted. We all want our kids to enjoy being kids. These community initiatives allow us as parents to help provide that. If you know of a good cultural program that benefits people with an intellectual or developmental disability in your city that you’d like to share, please feel free to add a comment and let us know about it.
For several years now, I’ve been taking my son snow skiing in Park City, UT, using a wonderful adaptive program called the National Ability Center. They have recreational therapists that work with people with various disabilities teaching them winter sports and running summer camps. I cannot recommend this program highly enough, although it’s popularity means you have to get your child’s paperwork in months in advance. My son started in 2010 and this year was his fourth time going to Utah during the winter.
Here’s an interview with my son about the experience.
What did you think when you first tried to ski this year:
“At first when I went on [the snow], I was very scared, but then was very worried when I was ready to go, but when I was already skiing, I noticed that I was still in contact with my guiding. I did try to keep balancing.”
Did you enjoy it?
“Yes I did. I was making sure I wouldn’t fall.”
What’s great about skiing?
“It’s just that it has a great sense of because I love the snow. But, this year there wasn’t enough snow. It was kind of snowless.”
Would you like to go back again?