Department Chair

Andrew D. Nicholls, Ph.D. Professor of History

Date of Award

5-2015

Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

History, M.A.

Department

History and Social Studies Education Department

Advisor

Cynthia A. Conides, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Museum Studies

Department Home page

http://history.buffalostate.edu/

First Reader

Cynthia A. Conides, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Museum Studies

Second Reader

Jill Gradwell, Ph.D., Professor of History and Social Studies Education

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to examine the question of how current museum access programs meet the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is an umbrella classification that presents many challenges for individuals in terms of social development and academic growth. It is important that all individuals are given the opportunity to experience the museum setting to their full ability. With this population of individuals at the forefront, an analysis will be done to examine what needs are present and how museum programming serves them. There are a variety of strategies and accommodations that museums can adopt that serve to enhance the museum experience for those visitors with ASD. This paper presents suggestions on how current strategies and practices can be enhanced for accommodating individuals with ASD in museums. Some museums that have exemplary programming to accommodate individuals with ASD can serve as models for other museums that wish to increase efforts for accommodating individuals with ASD. This work makes recommendations regarding the direction for further research and program implementation to help museum professionals and promote programs that increase access for ASD visitors.

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