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Tide Mill Museum’s new Sensory Backpacks broaden young visitor’s experience

Woodbridge Tide Mill is welcoming more and more children and families these days but sometimes, when it is busy, it may be an overwhelming or even stressful experience for individuals with sensory processing disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Heather Sheehan The Tide Mills Education Lead says “We are delighted to announce that we now have Sensory Backpacks. The backpacks are designed to make a visit more accessible and enjoyable for children who need a little extra support.

The backpacks are free to use and are located on the entrance desk. You can ask for one from any of our friendly staff and they will happily lend it to you for the duration of your visit. You can just return it before you leave.

Our backpacks can be carried everywhere with ease and contain a range of sensory objects to either calm or stimulate”.

Each backpack contains

• Two squeezable fidget toys – to calm an overanxious mind
• Ear defenders – if the Mill machinery gets too noisy
• Sunglasses – if the light gets too much
• A torch – for those gloomy Museum corners and to see our machinery in a little more detail
• A ‘feelings indicator’ – if you’re too shy to express yourself
• A magnifying glass – to help find those pesky hidden mice
• A sensory map – to show you where the noisy and quiet areas of the museum are
• The museum trail – to keep you busy on your visit and which you can then take home with you.

Sensory backpacks like this are a powerful calming tool for children with sensory or additional needs.

Woodbridge Tide Mill Charitable Trust Chairman, John Carrington added “I’d like to thank our Education Lead, Heather Sheehan, the East of England Co-op as sponsor and our volunteers for researching and creating this Sensory Backpack. The Charity wishes to look after its visitors and meet as many of their needs as it can. This is another useful development towards that goal”