museum visit w a person w cognitive disability

Clayton H Lewis Clayton.Lewis at Colorado.EDU
Fri Aug 7 20:49:08 UTC 2009

I've added this to the wiki:

visit to denver museum of nature and science

Twenty-something man, C, with substantial cognitive impairment
accompanied by sibling, S.

C has limited speech, some ability to read at the level of individual  

Visit of about two hours' length.

S managed the visit, in consultation with C about C's preferences.  
C's initial choice, based on prior visits, was dinosaur bones.

In choosing what else to see, pictures  on the museum map leaflet  
showing major exhibit groupings were useful in allowing C to express  
preferences, and helping S carry on the conversation about C's  
preferences. For example, S could point to the pictures while  
describing possible choices to C.

Pictures in the museum corridor areas that showed materials from the  
exhibits were useful in navigating... he was not navigating by  
himself, but the pictures seemed to offer him reassurance about where  
we were going (C is a little timid in some situations, shown by  
holding on to S.)

In the exhibit area C enjoyed the occasional opportunities to press  
buttons that produced sounds.

C was able to read some of the contents of exhibit captions, though  
it was not clear how much he understood about them without assistance  
from S.
C repeatedly (and spontaneously) indicated that he would like to  
bring "Mom" to see something in an exhibit.

Bottom line, for Fluid Engage

C (and S) indicated that having a handheld device that offered  
interactions  similar to the audio buttons in more places would be  
good. He would also be able to use this independently of other visitors.

Audio presentation of exhibit caption material, if at a basic level,  
might be helpful.

Showing a gallery map, with pictures illustrating exhibit contents,  
on the handheld, might also be helpful.

A facility that allow C to review his visit with his mother after  
returning home would be valuable to him (and her).

Clayton Lewis
Professor of Computer Science
Scientist in Residence, Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities
University of Colorado

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