The Bell County Museum is working to make patrons with disabilities feel welcomed

Sensory Friendly Day gives those with sensory processing disorders the chance to experience the museum without loud noises or bright lights
Published: Sep. 3, 2022 at 4:05 PM CDT
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - The Bell County Museum is expanding accessibility and inclusivity to include those with sensory processing disorders.

Many people with sensory processing disorders call central Texas home.

That’s why the Bell County Museum on Main Street in Belton, saw fit to give those people a morning to themselves.

“They can come in and have that same museum experience and see the exhibits and do the activities without the concern of a large event,” said museum education coordinator Katye Ricketts.

By lowering the light intensity and exhibit sounds, the museum welcomed those with sensory processing disorders for a ‘sensory friendly morning’.

Some of the activities geared toward kids include slime making, treasure hunting and painting.

These were used to keep engagement high, while also learning about Bell County and its history.

“Having something like this just uniquely for kids that are on the autism spectrum is very important. It allows them to experience things that everyone else gets to experience but at their level of sensitivity,” said museum visitor, Cheryl Rushing.

Rushing brought her grandson who has autism to enjoy sensory friendly morning.

She says it’s great to see the museum offer this experience for those that normally wouldn’t be able to due to the circumstances.

“A lot more places are recognizing that these children need an environment where they can feel safe and not be overwhelmed,” said Rushing.

The Bell County Museum puts on this event biannually in the spring and fall each year.

Event coordinators work closely with special education experts to ensure the exhibits are suitable for visitors while also maintaining the historical aspect of a museum.

“I got to learn so much more about these visitors and their needs and what they’re looking for in experiences like this. Putting all these different activities together was really fun and different for me,” said Ricketts.

The museum will hold its next Sensory Friendly Morning in the spring of 2023.