Friday, September 30, 2016

A Matthew Kind of Museum

I did a google search with the words sensory and museum.  I discovered that there are museums with sensory friendly rooms and many museums offer sensory friendly dates when accommodations are made for families with children with special needs.  Many children's museums are interactive or multi-sensory.  In fact Matthew does love the Betty Brinn Museum.  One of his favorite spots is working on the car, because he likes to change the tires and go underneath the car to change the muffler.  His other favorite spot is building with the giant Tinker Toys.  If I let him he would go back and forth between those two activities, but with encouragement he will also spend (and enjoy) some time at the grocery store exhibit and riding the pretend bus.

I also googled vacuum and museum because I had heard that there was one.  It turns out there is not one, but two vacuum museums.  One in St. James, Missouri and one in Portland, Oregon.  However, as I looked at the images it appeared that both museums were really more for looking at vacuums throughout the years that were on display. So, even though we were just in Portland this summer, it's probably a good thing we didn't go to the vacuum museum because Matthew wouldn't want to just LOOK at vacuums...he would want to TOUCH and RUN the vacuums.

So I got to thinking...what if there was a museum designed just for Matthew? With all of his favorite things? A place he would want to spend hours. This is what I am envisioning...

The Jumping Room - This room would have both trampolines and bouncy houses.  It would also have employees (or volunteers) that want to physically jump him either by taking his hands to help give him leverage or he would face them backwards so they could lift him up and jump him.

The Swing Room  - There would have to be your standard rubber swings and a whole row of them so he could go from one to the other because even though they may all look the same, they obviously don't all feel the same!  In addition there would be some tire swings and swings that you can lay down on and the big plastic kind that go up over your head and buckle you in.  And I hate to even say this, but there would probably even need to be a baby swing - but big enough for Matthew to get in and out of without getting stuck. Again, there might be two workers ready and willing to take each hand and swing him between them or grab each end of a blanket with him on it and swing him and deposit him on a couch.

The Flapping Room  - (Author's Note:  These are items that can be flapped against the chin to provide input.) So many fun things in this room.  Receipts of all different lengths and tape in case he wants to tape two together to make them even longer.  Flags of various sizes just waiting to be waved.  And objects with the tags still on them.

The Footwear Room - Amongst this interactive collection would be slippers (and people that he could boss into wearing the slippers), winter boots, rain boots, fur-lined boots, sneakers, mens' dress shoes, crocs, and sandals, just to name a few.

The Scratching Room - This room would contain wicker baskets, egg cartons, corrugated cardboard, the inside of car doors, rest mats, a few shoes from the Footwear Room and one of Rob's fleece sweatshirts.

The Vacuum Room  - Unlike the vacuum museums in Missouri and Oregon, this vacuum display would be fully interactive.  There would be lots of outlets for plugging in the vacuums.  There would be every kind of vacuum imaginable, including a wet vac (this is on his wish list right now).  There is one vacuum that would not be there though and that is the old yellow LOUD vacuum that we ended up throwing out this summer. (We are "all done" with that one.)

I'm sure there are several more rooms that could be part of this museum, but if we make it any  more spectacular, he won't ever want to leave!  He'll want to live there!


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