Eureka! The National Children’s Museum has launched the latest strand of its award-winning initiative aimed at helping disabled children and their families enjoy their experience of this award-winning attraction. Eureka! launched The Eureka! Story, a bespoke guide designed for, and with, children with communication or sensory difficulties, as part of its three year Helping Hands project, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Children on the autism spectrum can feel overwhelmed by a visit to any unfamiliar place, and a visit to a colourful and busy museum like Eureka! can provoke a sensory overload. Designed in close consultation with children, parents, and professionals from Cliffe Hill School in Halifax, West Yorkshire, The Eureka! Story is a visual, step-by-step guide to the entire museum experience so that children can familiarise themselves with everything that they will experience before they arrive. The Eureka! Story is available free via the Eureka! website: www.eureka.org.uk/eurekastory
Trizia Wells, Eureka!’s Helping Hands Project Lead, explains “The Eureka! Story is a simple but effective tool that visualises the whole experience, meaning that parents and teachers can prepare children with loads of visual prompts. For us the most exciting thing about this project is that it puts the child’s experience firmly at the centre and has been road tested by children who will be using it.”
Rachel Halford, mother of 12 year old Jack who helped on the project said “The Eureka! story will have a positive impact because it is really difficult to take autistic children anywhere. Having something that tells you everything to expect and written in the way that the children can understand is unique. As a parent I think it’s absolutely invaluable. As someone who tries to take a child to places to have fun, I do think that Eureka! is truly inclusive and you don’t really get that anywhere else.”
The Eureka! Story now forms part of a range of ways that Eureka! has introduced over the past two years to maximise the way it engages disabled children and their families. These include activity clubs, bookable visits supported by Eureka! staff, special welcome greetings for children with communication difficulties and a range of resources to help children enjoy their visit.
This year Eureka! was awarded Bronze in the Access for All category of the highly coveted VisitEngland Awards.
- For more information about The Eureka! Story visit www.eureka.org.uk/eurekastory
- The Helping Hands project, now in its third and final year, is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
- Helping Hands is a range of free services that help disabled children and their whole family to come along and enjoy a day at Eureka! whilst reducing the stresses and strains that a family day out can entail. To find out more about Helping Hands email Trizia Wells, Helping Hands Project Lead, or call us on 01422 330069. In May 2013 Eureka!’s Helping Hands Project won Bronze in VisitEngland’s Access for All Tourism Awards.
- Eureka! is designed especially for children aged 0-11, with over 400 hands-on exhibits inspiring them to learn about themselves and the world around them through imagination, play and discovery. For visitor information call 01422 330069, visit www.eureka.org.uk, become a fan on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
- The standard Eureka! ticket is also an Annual Pass, letting all of the party paid for on the day of the first visit to come back to Eureka! free of charge as many times as they like over the next 12 months. Adults: £10.95, Children age 3+ : £10.95, Toddlers age 1-2: £3.75, Babies age 0-11 months: free. Read more about the Annual Pass.
- Eureka! is open 10am–5pm at weekends, during half-terms and holidays. Term-time Eureka! is open 10am –4pm Tuesday – Friday, and 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on term-time Mondays and between 24-26 December.
- Eureka! is situated next door to Halifax railway station, just 10 minutes by car from junction 24 of the M62 and 17 miles from Leeds
- Eureka! is an educational charity no. 292758