Museum hosts evening for special needs families

WINCHESTER – The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum is hosting its third Special Night for Special Needs beginning at 6 p.m. today.

Ryan Hall, marketing and membership organizer for the museum, said he is glad the museum is able to offer unique events like this to the local community.

“We realized here at the museum that there was a need for a special evening event for children with special needs,” Hall said.  “We’ve made accommodations so children with physical, cognitive or emotional difficulties can enjoy the museum like everyone else.”

Children with sensory disorders often have trouble enjoying daily activities due to noise, touch or even new experiences. The event is specially crafted for children who have special needs and their immediate family and/or caretakers.

The evening will feature many activities designed with the senses in mind, while exhibits with lowered volume and lighting will be adjusted for an enjoyable museum experience. Activities will include assistance from licensed occupational therapists, a special education instructor and animal-assisted therapy.

“Occupational therapists from Valley Health partnered with us to make this night a special event,” Hall said. “Their programming focuses on activities that are sensory friendly.”

This event is free to families of children with special needs. Families are invited to a quiet time beginning at 5:30 p.m. before the evening begins.

“This time will allow everyone to center themselves,” Hall said. “And get adjusted to their surroundings.”

Through the support of Don Beyer Volvo, Kiwanis Club of Winchester, and Valley Health, the Discovery Museum is able to offer this event on a quarterly basis.

The Discovery Museum is located at 9 W. Cork St.  in Winchester.