Sensory Friendly & Autism Resources
The CMC offers resources for visitors with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental, Sensory, and Learning Differences.
To help make your visit as enjoyable and engaging as possible, we have partnered with Monarch Center for Autism’s Welcoming Spaces Program to develop customized visual, social, communicative, sensory, and behavioral supports. You will find these supports throughout the museum – from our ticket desk toolkits and call-ahead accommodations, to our sensory friendly room, social narratives, visual schedules, visual/sensory maps, video models, and more.
We hope to prepare you before, during, and after your visit, so you leave feeling happy, successful, and eager to return.
CMC's Special Needs Access Programs are provided with generous support from the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Foundation.
Take Home Activity Kits & Virtual Programs
Take Home Activity Kits: We understand that a visit to the Museum may not be the right choice for every family in these unprecedented times. Free craft kits can be picked up at the Museum so that you can learn through play at home!
To pick up your free kits, visit us during our business hours. If you enter the Museum to pick up your kits, you must be wearing a face mask that covers your nose and mouth. If you are unable to wear a face mask, please call the front desk at 216.791.7114 and a member of our staff can bring them out to you. Limit 3 kits per visit.
Virtual Programs: Our Education staff has created over 100 virtual programs including STEM experiments, story times, arts and crafts, music lessons and more! These can all be enjoyed free of charge to continue the fun and learning at home. View our full selection of virtual programs here.
Face Mask Wearing Support Guides
Individuals with sensory differences may have difficulty tolerating masks. The following resources may help your family in practicing and building a tolerance for mask wearing. Resources provided by Monarch Center for Autism, Autism Speaks, Senders Pediatrics, Autism Little Learners, and OCALI Autism Center.
Call Ahead Accommodations
If you are planning a visit with a child who has special needs, and you want to avoid waiting in line at the ticketing desk, please call 216-791-7114. A member of our team will meet you in the lobby with tickets and visual/sensory supports designed to enhance your child’s experience at the museum.
Admission & Re-Entry
Museum tickets cost $12 for children and adults. If you need to take a break and leave the building, please go to the Ticketing Desk and ask for a sticker, which will enable you to return free of charge on the same day.
Upon request, we have noise canceling headphones, sensory toys, visual supports, and a survey available at our ticketing desk.The headphones and sensory toys must be returned prior to your departure. Some of the visual supports are yours to keep, and the survey can be completed on-site, online or returned via postal mail.
Sensory Friendly Room
If your child needs a break during his/her museum visit, there is a sensory friendly room located on level one, across from our Arts and Parts exhibit. This quieter room contains special lighting, calming music, and other sensory equipment. Parents interested in purchasing items found in CMC’s sensory friendly room for personal use can be purchased online through Fun and Function.
This social narrative, complete with visual supports, will help familiarize your child with museum exhibits, rules, spaces, and helpers. We recommend that you read it with your child before your visit.
Make your Own Visual Schedule
This make your own visual schedule template contains picture cards that represent each area of the museum, along with a blank schedule template.
We recommend you print and assemble the picture cards so you can design your own visual schedule before you visit.
Sample Visual Schedules
Get In Touch
We’d love to hear about your visit to the museum, including whether or not our visual/sensory supports enhanced your child’s experience. Please spend a few minutes taking our brief online survey.
Monarch Center for Autism's Welcoming Spaces Program
These resources were created in partnership with Monarch Center for Autism’s Welcoming Spaces Program. Their professional staff work with families and community-based organizations to:
- Evaluate spaces and make sensory and visual support recommendations
- Design customized sensory rooms
- Develop customized visual, social, communicative, sensory, and behavioral supports
- Assemble personalized “grab-and-go community toolkits”
- Deliver autism-specific sensitivity training to employees
- Develop marketing and communications materials (e.g., web copy, press releases, social media posts) to announce and promote the use of autism-friendly accommodations
- Facilitate “pilot/test visits” for individuals with autism, administer surveys, and track data to demonstrate the benefits of autism-friendly accommodations
For more information, visit monarchcenterforuatism.org or call 216-320-8945.