The Children’s Museum of the East End recently partnered with Flying Point Foundation for Autism to host a series of Sensory Friendly Mornings at the Museum. Created specifically for families with children on the autism spectrum or children with sensory processing disorders, the mornings feature light and sound reduction in the exhibits, quiet rooms, and an intentionally less-crowded Museum. We recently spoke with Flying Point’s Annie Wotowiec-Unwin about the foundation’s work, the importance of inclusion, and how you can get more involved.
How did you get involved with working with children with special needs?
I am an Occupational Therapist who lives in the East End. I live and work at a summer camp for children with physical disabilities, The Southampton Fresh Air Home, where my husband serves as the Assistant Director. My husband and I facilitate the monthly Flying Point Foundation Recreation programs. I also provide Occupational Therapy Services to adults and children in acute care and outpatient settings.
Can you tell us a little bit about the work of Flying Point Foundation?
The Flying Point Foundation for Autism, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is dedicated to creating and supporting programs and services that enrich the lives of those with autism. Recognizing the limited opportunities for organized activities geared toward individuals with autism, the Foundation’s main focus is to provide programs that meet this need on the East End.
Through our efforts, we will also raise public awareness and understanding of autism, especially among the peers of children who have been diagnosed with the disorder.
The Flying Point Foundation sponsors a summer camp in which children with autism, aged 6 to 21, may learn social and communication skills alongside their typically developing peers. Also, monthly recreation programs are offered that include arts and crafts, fitness, and seasonal outings.
Why it is so important for institutions to offer programming like our upcoming Sensory Friendly Morning?
The Sensory Friendly Morning at CMEE will be beneficial to children and families that may not otherwise be able to experience the Museum. By providing sound/lighting adjustments and limiting admission, the sensory modified setting will hopefully provide an opportunity to work towards generalization of skills into other inclusive social settings. All children and families should have the opportunity to interact with the amazing exhibits and activities at CMEE!
How can someone get involved with the Flying Point Foundation?