Volunteering at the Dover Children's Museum Essay

Volunteering at the Dover Children's Museum Essay

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For my experiential learning project I volunteered at the Dover Children’s Museum. The second Sunday of every month they have a program called ‘Exploring Our Way’. Between the hours of ten and twelve they open up the museum exclusively for children with autism and their families. During our orientation with Paula, who is the leader of this program, we were given information about children with autism; similar to the general information we received in class. In addition to that we told about the adaptations the museum does at this time to make it a more comfortable places for the children with autism. For example, the sounds of many of the exhibits are turned down a little as to not present such a sensory overload. We were also showed areas/exhibits in the museum that are “quiet areas” so if a child was feeling overwhelmed we could direct them to these special spots. Paula told us that our role in this was simply to walk around and provide a friendly face for the children and their families.
On our first session we were told to arrive 30 minutes early to help set up the museum. There is a classroom in the museum that is used as a multipurpose room for whichever new exhibit comes in. During Exploring Our Way this room is used as the mapping room. The mapping room is where the children can make a social story for their morning at the museum. There are pictures of each exhibit in the museum and strips of paper that they can glue them onto in the order for which they want to view the exhibits. When we learned about this aspect of Exploring Our Way I thought this would be a really big hit amongst the children. I have two students in the class that I intern in who use social stories everyday to complete the tasks in their morning routi...


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...ional teaching career I will need to be able to work with students with autism/Asperger’s syndrome. In order to help me do so I think it would be extremely beneficial for me to come at it having the same frame of mind as I do when I volunteer at the museum. In a way this experience has changed my viewpoints on how I interact with students in my professional practice.
Going further, if I decide at the end of the year that I do not want to stay in New Hampshire than I think wherever I move to I will look for a program like this to volunteer at again. This experience has given me a newfound appreciation for all the hard work and challenges families and those who work with children on the spectrum go through. If I can lend a hand to alleviate some of that by playing with children for a couples hours a week, or by providing a smiling face at a function, I certainly will.

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