Inclusive experience for those on autism spectrum at Athens art museum

Inclusive experience for those on autism spectrum at Athens art museum

The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens has teamed up with a nongovernmental organization called The Happy Act to make its institution more friendly to visitors with autism.

Christos Karakatsidis, who was responsible for carrying out the project for the NGO with his sister, Maria, called it a “challenge” that had to take into account the massive expanse of the museum – in the former Fix brewery on the corner of Syngrou Avenue and Kallirois Street – its large number of exhibits and its character.

This entailed identifying sources of visual and aural stimulation, as certain sounds and lights can trigger adverse reactions in people with autism.

The chief part of the project was providing the museum with signposts containing information and warnings regarding the intensity and quality of sensory stimulation at every exhibit and space.

The Happy Act is also working with businesses to make them more accessible to customers on the spectrum.

This may entail simple changes like altering the air freshener they use or creating a quiet space for customers experiencing a sensory overload, or more demanding ones, like training staff how to approach customers in distress.

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