Children with autism react to sensory stimuli in very different ways. Some children on the autism spectrum are overly sensitive, while others are just the opposite. The Huntington offers a range of environments to suit any child’s needs.
“The Huntington can be a wonderful place for someone with autism because it offers so many opportunities to see, smell, hear, and touch. But it also offers quiet, open spaces,” says Ricki Robinson, M.D., co-director of Descanso Medical Center for Development and Learning in La Cañada, California, and a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She’s also a member of The Huntington’s Board of Overseers.
April is National Autism Awareness Month, a great time, says Robinson, to consider visiting The Huntington—given the mild weather and plants bursting forth in bloom.
We asked Robinson what she’d recommend to caregivers bringing their kids:
“A first stop for many children (autistic or otherwise) is the Helen and Peter Bing Children’s Garden. Designed by California kinetic artist Ned Kahn, children get to splash in water, make music with pebbles, dance under rainbows, disappear into a swirl of fog, and hold the magic of magnetic forces in their hands.
“Many autistic children have a heightened sense of smell. For them, the dozens of fragrances in the Rose Garden may hold great appeal. But each child reacts differently to their environment. What may be a joyous experience for one autistic child may be frightening for another. One child may find the waterfall in the Chinese Garden fascinating. To another, its sound can seem like pounding nails. With so many different sensory experiences that can be explored throughout The Huntington’s gardens, parents of a child with autism can tailor their visit to match their child’s interests and sensory likes and dislikes.
Read the complete article on Huntington Blogs.