Inclusive Spaces

Sensory Kits at Special Places

April is Autism Acceptance Month. At the Trustees, we are committed to ensuring our properties are accessible to all visitors year-round, including those who are neurodivergent. This work is constantly evolving and growing to include more of our special places.

A white box surrounded and filled with a variety of sensory items and fidgets.

A sensory kit, made available through a partnership with Autism Alliance.

At seven of our Trustees’ special places, sensory kits designed for neurodiverse children and adults are now available for visitors. The kits, provided through a partnership with Autism Alliance, are an additional way that The Trustees aims to ensure that all visitors feel welcome and can enjoy the many properties we steward across Massachusetts.

Kits include a drawstring backpack, ID badge, lanyard, noise-cancelling headphones, sunglasses, water timer, fidget toys, and a social storybook at applicable properties. Each of these items are designed to stimulate one or more of the five senses, providing a safe and fun way for children and adults to explore and interact with their surroundings. For neurodiverse adults and children who might feel overwhelmed or stressed in certain environments, components of the kit may also provide calming properties.

naumkeag kids

Naumkeag in Stockbridge has sensory kits available for visitors.

“We hope these kits make visiting Trustees properties and programming more accessible and enjoyable for individuals with autism by providing a bit of support to navigate sensory-rich environments,” shared Mark Lindsay, accessibility coordinator for The Trustees. “We greatly appreciate the guidance from Autism Alliance on sharing them with our visitors.”

The Trustees often hosts sensory-friendly programming. These events at our properties offer a reduced number of guests and a quieter environment. All who would benefit from a limited capacity visit are welcome. At these events specifically, sensory kits are made visible and noted on event pages, though property staff have noted that they are not often utilized in the already quiet and calm environment.

The FARM Institute on Martha's Vineyard has sensory kits available for visitors.

Social Stories are also available via our website for some Trustees properties (deCordova and Weir River Farm), offering information to visitors about what to expect prior to visiting. Social stories are a learning tool that provides information to individuals in a format that helps prepare for their upcoming property visit, including what folks may see, hear, or experience in these places.

Locations with the sensory kits include Weir River Farm in Hingham, Naumkeag in Stockbridge, Appleton Farms in Ipswich and Hamilton, Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough, The FARM Institute on Martha’s Vineyard, Powisset Farm in Dover, and deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln. We hope to offer kits at additional properties in the future. The kits are currently limited, with two available at each of these seven properties. Visitors may want to bring what they expect to need.

Guided Sculpture Park Tour at deCordova

deCordova in Lincoln has sensory kits available for visitors.

To reserve a kit, contact the properties using the information below, or ask a program leader at a sensory-friendly event. 

In 2022, Weir River Farm was awarded Autism Welcoming Status by the Autism Alliance.

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