WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today toured Please Touch Museum with children and families affected by autism and heard about the realities of living with the disorder from families affected by it.
“Autism presents unique challenges to those with the condition as well as their families,” said Senator Casey. “We need to continue our research efforts to understand the causes of autism, and look at ways to help individuals with autism reach their full potential. These individuals and their families need our support, which is why I cosponsored and strongly advocated for passage of legislation to fund research on autism and have cosponsored legislation to address the needs of people with autism. With CDC estimates indicating that Autism Spectrum Disorders affect 1 in 110 children in the United States, we need to build on the progress that has been made.”
"Providing exhibits, programs and public spaces that are inclusive and interactive for all visitors is central to the Museum's mission and a cornerstone of the organization," said Laura Foster, President & CEO of Please Touch Museum. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to facilitate this dialogue and to discuss how the Museum's Autism Access Program provides families of children with Autism with innovative tools to make a museum visit more comfortable and enjoyable."
Senator Casey toured the “City Capers” section of the museum, which provides children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) an engaging way to learn basic social skills, like shopping in a supermarket or riding in a bus.
Senator Casey was a strong supporter of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law on September 30 and will continue critically important research on autism and coordination of federal activities addressing the disorder.
Senator Casey also:
- Was an original cosponsor of the Autism Services and Workforce Acceleration Act, includes a demonstration project for care coordination, a youth and adult services demonstration project, a public awareness and education campaign and a national training initiative;
- Authored the ABLE Act to give individuals with disabilities access to savings accounts that accrue interest tax-free to fund expenses for a person with a disability, including educational expenses, medical care, employment training and support, and personal support services; and,
- Authored the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would help ensure that every child receives a quality education by helping schools prevent and address bullying and harassment.
Please Touch Museum's Autism Access Program creates a comprehensive welcoming structure for families of children with ASD through accessibility tools for families of children with ASD; specialized employee training for Museum staff focusing on children with ASD and their behavioral patterns; mobile programming enabling children who would otherwise not be able to visit the museum to interact with Please Touch-themed games and toys; special Autism Access evening events for families of children with ASD; and games and toys designed for children with ASD in the Kids Store.