On Sunday, November 2nd, Salus University students from the Occupational Therapy (OT) program participated in Sensory-Friendly Sunday at The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St. Department chair and associate professor, Dr. Fern Silverman, has been consulting with The Franklin Institute for the past eight years.  As a result, she has previously assisted with exhibit designs along with accessibility issues for visitors.  Assistant professor of occupational therapy, Andrea Tyszka, MSOT, OTR/L, SIPT, has also been actively involved with this project and coordinating student involvement.

Sensory-Friendly Sunday was initially implemented to create a comfortable environment for kids and adults with a variety of sensory differences.  The exhibits were modified during the event to provide an opportunity for people on the autism spectrum to experience The Franklin Institute’s exhibits without feeling overwhelmed.

Salus faculty assisted with the creation of sensory maps for the event, which included specific levels of sound, sight, touch, movement and complexity for each exhibit room. Visitors were also offered sound-reducing headphones, sunglasses, a cool down space and a “try again” pass for anyone who needed to leave in the first thirty minutes of their arrival with the intent that they could come back another day.

Salus University’s Occupational Therapy department will be collecting feedback from parents who attended the event to present to The Franklin Institute while also helping to facilitate future events.

The next Sensory-Friendly Sunday is scheduled for January 11, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The following Occupational Therapy students volunteered at Sensory-Friendly Sunday: Class of 2015 members: Miriam Berney, Tricia Biel-Goebel, Nechama Cohen, Jennifer Hong, Amber Lee and Nicole Perry; Class of 2016 members: Vince Besaw, Allison Bicskei, Victoria Boyne, Lynn Breisch, Lindsey Britt, Joan Doberstein, Ally Dossick, Brianna Dudeck, Lauren Frabizzio,  Megan Keyser , Erin MacElroy, Sharon Marcy, Leighanna Milby, Jing Or, Eric Reuter,  Kelly Rodden, Rachel Sniegowski, Kayla Stouder, Rajvi Vora and Jessica Wong.

The following Occupational Therapy students – all Class of 2015 - volunteered as research assistants for Sensory-Friendly Sunday: Miriam Berney, Yehudis Besser, Nechama Cohen, Jennifer Hong, Rosalyn Itzkowitz, Amber Lee, Nicole Perry, Aliza Redisch and Leah Schulman.