Kents Cavern becomes more accessible for people with autism
Kents Cavern is the first of the Heritage Ability network to develop a Visual Story in Devon. Just in time for Autistic Pride Day, this guide gives people with autism advance information so they can prepare for unexpected surprises before their visit.
For many people, going for a day out at a tourist attraction is a thought that fills people with excitement. But for people with autism, the idea of going somewhere new can fill them with a sense of dread and nervousness.
The stories have been created in partnership with Heritage Ability. Heritage Ability is creating many accessible products for over 20 unique attractions across the South West, from historic houses to castles, country parks and dramatic coastlines. The products will improve access for people with learning disabilities, autism, visual impairments, limited mobility and people who use British Sign Language. They have all been created in collaboration by people with lived experience.
Elliot Ling, Learning Officer at Kents Cavern said: “We recently received our British Sign Language videos from Heritage Ability, so we’re even more delighted to strengthen our accessibility with our new Visual Story. We’ve already found that it’s been used, not just by people with autism, but also by school groups and foreign visitors. The thought of going into the cave can fill some people with anxiety, so it’s great to be able to offer a guide that will help people feel more confident to visit.”
Heritage Ability is part of a local charity Living Options Devon. Over 52% of its staff and volunteers have lived experience of a disability, so lead and support the creation of the products with the user in mind. Each of the sites in the network will also benefit from Disability and Deaf Awareness training.
Maryann Soper, Project Manager at Heritage Ability said: “To make sure we manage the expectations of all our visitors, we gather feedback about our products from our users. We’ve worked closely on our Visual Stories with a parent of a child with autism, as well as groups of people with lived experience. As part of our scheme, we also train staff and volunteers at the site in Disability Awareness, so that they are aware of the needs of people with autism and feel confident to help.”
To find out about the other accessible solutions that Heritage Ability are introducing at these places visit www.heritageability.org
For more information about the project, contact Jessica Holroyd, Engagement and Communications Officer at [email protected] or on 01392 459222.
To find out more about what’s on offer at Kents Cavern, contact Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves at [email protected] or on 01803 215136.