National Museum of Singapore opens a Quiet Room for children with special needs

National Museum of Singapore opens a Quiet Room for children with special needs

The space offers a soothing environment for visitors who might experience sensory or social overstimulation, in particular those on the autism spectrum.

Photo National Museum of Singapore Quiet Room 1
The National Museum of Singapore launched the Quiet Room on Aug 1 for children with special needs. (Photo: Khoo Guo Jie; image courtesy of Lekker Architects)

The National Museum of Singapore has launched a Quiet Room on Aug 1. This dedicated space is suitable for children who might experience sensory or social overstimulation, in particular children on the autism spectrum who may need a calmer environment.

The 25 sq m room is supported by BNP Paribas Singapore and is designed to be “dream-like”. It can fit eight individuals, both children and adults, at a time.

The neutral, modular space offers soft, even lighting with changeable colour settings that caregivers can toggle to suit the child’s preferences. There are geometric-shaped cushions that a child can hug for soothing purposes, and a padded inner chamber designed to resemble a womb for visitors to rest and self-regulate.

Photo National Museum of Singapore Quiet Room 2
Cushions that can be used to modify the physical environment around the child, and can fit together in multiple combinations. (Photo: Khoo Guo Jie; image courtesy of Lekker Architects)

The National Museum has been piloting initiatives to enhance accessibility and inclusiveness for visitors with special needs since 2016, including opening an hour earlier to accommodate visits by Special Education schools to allow a quieter setting for the students. The first Saturday and the first and third Thursdays of each month are designated “Quiet Mornings”.

The museum’s Singapore History Gallery also features access-friendly amenities such as Quiet Corners, which are designated rest spots within the gallery. These spots also feature a Quiet Pod, which is a sensory pod that provides a quiet space, allowing visitors some privacy to retreat from external stimuli.

The National Museum’s deputy director, Wong Hong Suen, said, “The National Museum hopes to create a safe and inclusive space where visitors can come together to learn and appreciate Singapore’s history and heritage. We will continue to work closely with Special Education Schools, social service organisations and community groups to introduce them to our Quiet Mornings, and invite families and their children with additional needs, particularly children with autism, to participate in our programmes.”

Source: CNA/sr

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