The Transit Museum is embarking on a new year of Subway Sleuths, a special after school program for children on the Autism Spectrum. The program teaches social and problem-solving skills in a unique environment – a decommissioned subway station – and uses transit-themed content to engage spectrum youth. This year the Centers for Disease Control issued a new report estimating that 1 out of 88 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the United States. Subway Sleuths uses a fascination for trains to help students navigate shared social experiences with their peers.
In a very short period of time Subway Sleuths has captured the attention of ASD experts, transit enthusiasts and Museum professionals alike. Organizations as diverse as the Portland International Airport and the Museum Access Consortium have turned to the Museum for consultation on implementing similar programs. Each session is facilitated by a special educator, a speech language pathologist trained in ASD support, and a Transit Museum educator. In 2011, Subway Sleuths’ innovative approach was featured on the front page article in The New York Times. The Museum will be part of a presentation at the American Public Transportation Association’s Annual Convention. The Museum has also been invited to participate in a proposed panel at the next convention for the American Alliance of Museums.
This fall, 7-9 year olds will meet on Tuesday afternoons at 4pm, and 10-12 year olds will meet on Wednesday afternoons at 4pm. The classes will start on October 2nd and 3rd, respectively. We will be holding thirty minute Observation Sessions on September 11th and 12th at the Transit Museum to form this fall’s cohorts. The observation sessions are a fun, informal way for staff to assess each child’s needs and tendencies, helping them assemble compatible participant groups and craft lesson plans. The program is offered on a sliding scale: for those in need the entire ten-week series costs only $25, thanks in part to a generous grant from Autism Speaks. Additional funding is provided by the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Tiger Baron Foundation, Warren Lewis Realty and individual donations.
Flyer for Parents: http://mta.info/mta/museum/pdf/NYTM_autism.pdf
The New York Transit Museum is located at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn Heights.