Access for people with autism and other special needs
Paessler AG, the global network management specialist and makers of PRTG Network Monitor, is sponsoring the 2018 Relaxed Opening sessions at The National Museum of Computing.
First launched in TNMOC last year to benefit families with autistic children, the Relaxed Opening sessions have been a huge success and already been supported by a Museums + Heritage Prize Fund.
Visitors during the Relaxed Opening sessions know that the Museum will be less busy, and that staff will be particularly alert to their needs. Paessler has provided funding to enable the museum to provide its 2018 Relaxed Opening free of charge to visitors, to train guides and stewards to meet the needs of visitors and to enable further development of the initiative.
Claire Marston, Head of Learning and initiator of the Relaxed Opening sessions at the Museum, explained: “The multi-sensory aspects of the museum that are such an attraction for most of our visitors can induce sensory overload for people who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). They need to know what to expect and to have ways of lowering that sensory input to a comfortable level. That means having fewer people around, having ear protection where necessary, knowing where there are flickering lights and where they can go to chill out if it all gets a bit too overwhelming. And they need staff and stewards who understand these issues and will offer understanding assistance. We are so pleased that Paessler is offering such generous support for the venture.”
Natalie Pratt, Marketing Manager at Paessler, said, “We encounter children with autism among so many of our friends’ and neighbours’ families that we immediately realised the significance of these Relaxed Opening sessions run by the Museum. We appreciate that simple things like free entry is hugely important for families with autistic children, and we are keen to help them enjoy what the Museum has to offer. We are also investigating environmental monitoring possibilities, which could alleviate some of the stress of foreign surroundings.”
Previous visitors also agree about the importance and enjoyability of Relaxed Opening sessions. Mary Hooks, mother of Jenson, aged 13 and who has Asperger syndrome, said, “It was very refreshing to be met with staff who had an idea of my son’s struggles, offering the use of headphones and warning us of noise areas and pointing out the chill-out zone. We all really enjoyed it. He was in his element having long in-depth conversations about computers and coding.”
Eleven-year-old Jake, wearing his ear protectors in front of the whirring Colossus, accompanied his mother and younger brother and described what the session meant to him: “I’ve enjoyed it a lot more today because there’s not so many crowds and I’ve loved playing and looking at all the old computer systems.”
This year, there will be Relaxed Opening sessions, sponsored by Paessler, from 10.30am to 12 noon on:
Sunday 18 February 2018
Friday 6 April 2018
Friday 1 June 2018
Friday 27 July 2018
Friday 24 August 2018
Friday 2 November 2018
Early registration is strongly recommended because visitor numbers must be limited. To register please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To help visitors, sensory maps and a visual story are available on the TNMOC website so that they can know exactly what unusual sounds and sights to expect in particular parts of the Museum.
Notes To Editors
About Paessler AG
Paessler AG’s award winning PRTG Network Monitor is a powerful, affordable and easy-to-use Unified Monitoring solution. The vendor-neutral, flexible software is used by enterprises and organisations of all sizes, in all industries.
Over 200,000 IT administrators, in more than 170 countries, rely on PRTG to provide peace of mind when managing their IT Infrastructure: Preparing them for anything.
Founded in 1997 and based in Nuremberg, Germany, Paessler AG remains a privately held company that is recognized as both a member of the Cisco Solution Partner Program and a VMware Technology Alliance Partner.
About The National Museum of Computing
The National Museum of Computing, located on Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the world's largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond. The Museum is housed in Block H, regarded by Historic England as one of England's top 100 'irreplaceable places'.
The Museum runs a highly successful Learning Programme for schools and colleges and promotes introductions to computer coding amongst young people to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.
Sponsors of the Museum have included Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Centre, Sophos, Bloomberg, CreateOnline, Ceravision, Fujitsu, InsightSoftware.com, Ocado Technology, FUZE, 4Links, Google UK, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, and BCS.
Outside the long school holidays, the whole Museum is open to the public from 12 noon – 5 pm on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, spring and summer Bank Holidays and during long school holidays. The Colossus and Tunny galleries are open daily. Public and private Guided Tours are available and bookable online – see the website for details. Educational and corporate group visits are available by prior arrangement.
For more information, see http://www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+.
Stephen Fleming, Palam Communications, for The National Museum of Computing