Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Area Attractions: Subway Sleuths (NY)

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn with The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award at The White House for an unprecedented program for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

This “Little Engine That Could” program is so successful that the museum has to turn families away. But why is it successful? And how can other cities across the country offer similar programs?
  • Here are the facts. According to many experts, 1 in 68 children (and 1 in 42 boys) have autism.
  • Kids with autism are drawn to the subway because they have minds that love to detect patterns and systemize.
  • The New York City subway system is a network of lines, stations, and color-coded maps, creating a natural fit especially for kids who love trains (and in cities like New York, trains mean “subways”).
  • It was pretty obvious that a significant number of children on the autism spectrum and their parents were visiting the New York Transit Museum and very engaged and happy when there.
  • The museum recognized a need to create a program for kids on the autism spectrum and created the “Subway Sleuths” program.
  • Subway Sleuths is a 10- to 12-week after-school program for children in the second to fifth grades with ASD. It’s led by autism specialists and leverages the childrens’ shared interest in trains to help them enhance their social skills.
  • The program works because these kids are in an environment that allows them to feel comfortable communicating, interacting and socializing with others.
  • Other cities can hopefully gain valuable knowledge from the Subway Sleuths program and potentially create similar programs. 
  • The museum is located in an old subway station in Brooklyn and is full of vintage trains, displays, buses and all sorts of cool stuff relating to transit.

Visit nytransitmuseum.org/SubwaySleuths for more information.

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