Museum opens door to special needs students
Shanghai History Museum is offering special needs students specialized courses to help them integrate into society.
The courses, supported by the Shanghai Children's Foundation, are helping children with autism to gain confidence and happiness in their lives.
On Sunday, which is also Mother's Day, six families of special needs children had a happy tour to the Roof325 Restaurant at the rooftop of the museum where they learned dining etiquette.
Students were taught about the layout of the Western dining table, the order of dining, and how to use knives and forks.
Delicate dishes also enriched children's taste buds experience and inspired them to discover and experience the charm of food culture.
According to John Han, director of the Roof325 Restaurant, they had made full preparations for the event.
"We decorated the long tables with red cloth to add some festive and joyful ambiance for the kids," said Han. "It is a very meaningful event."
After having meals at the restaurant, families visited the museum to explore the modern history of Shanghai.
The museum's interactive smart device, the "Magic Mirror Wall," enabled students to learn about the city's tremendous development and distinctive culture in a light-hearted way.
"It was fun," said 11-year-old Joleen Qiao. "I am happy to taste yummy food and learn dining knowledge."
Qiu Zhengping, deputy curator of the Shanghai History Museum, said that the courses are specially designed to improve students' abilities to integrate and adapt to society.
"All of our services are people-oriented, so we should take the demands of special needs groups into consideration," Qiu added.
"We also have a sound museum especially for the visually impaired people. Last year, we launched cooperation with Shanghai University to offer a sign language guide to our exhibitions."
The museum's second and third course for autistic students will be hosted on the afternoons of May 27 and June 3. Students will have chance to understand the city's origin, modern revolutionary history and cultural relics in different periods of time.
Students' comprehensive abilities in observation, thinking, search and communication are expected to be developed through these courses.
Shanghai Children's Foundation is also giving financial support to the courses, helping students gradually achieve self-reliance in the future.
Chen Lianjun, associate professor from the Department of Special Education with East China Normal University, spoke highly of such projects.
"These children need a platform to showcase their talents," said Chen. "I hope that more and more enterprises and educational institutions will take part in the projects and provide children with a friendly environment of great tolerance and patience."