Tampa, Florida – To make fun and learning even more open to all families in Tampa Bay, the area’s leader in hands-on science learning is teaming up with the community’s largest provider of Autism Spectrum Disorder analysis and care.
The partnership between the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) and Behavioral Consulting of Tampa Bay (BCOTB) is the first of its kind for either organization.
Working under the motto “partnering toward a more autism accessible experience,” the collaboration will lead to more vital science and math education for a wider range of students in Tampa Bay, richer and more fulfilling time together for families that include children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and guidelines for other museums and businesses that are looking to create a more inclusive experience.
“At MOSI, our core goal is to make science real for people of all ages and backgrounds. By partnering with BCOTB, we are taking that pledge further than ever before,” said MOSI President & CEO Molly Demeulenaere. “Creating a more autism accessible experience means a fresh look at everything on our current campus – from the layout of our hands-on exhibits all the way back to how we let our guests know what to expect before they arrive.
BCOTB and MOSI have already performed a thorough assessment of the science center’s current 300,000 square foot facility on E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa. Some potential changes identified in the study include revising maps and signs to clearly show families what kinds of sensory information (lights, sounds, etc.) to expect in certain areas and rearranging some exhibits to allow families to bypass sections they may find overwhelming. MOSI’s new website, set to launch in September, will incorporate new features to improve autism accessibility.
“This is a fantastic way to take the expertise BCOTB has developed by working one-on-one with families since 2003 and bring it out into the Tampa Bay community,” BCOTB President and Founder Kelley Prince said. “Our families are always searching for places where they can spend time together that will be supportive of their needs and won’t overwhelm them. We’re excited to help MOSI take that to the next level.”
The partnership announcement comes just days after BCOTB was recognized as one of the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Fast 50 on July 21, acknowledging it as one of the area’s fastest growing private companies. BCOTB – which provides behavior analysis and care at locations in Tampa, Wesley Chapel, and Brandon – has also been honored with an Autism Impact Award from the International Center for Autism Research and Education and has been named Most Valuable Resource by Autism Speaks Tampa Bay.
Executives at BCOTB plan to use the guidelines created through the partnership with MOSI during future work with other organizations and companies, helping them meet their own goals of social and business growth through increased inclusiveness and autism accessibility. MOSI will begin implementing some changes immediately, with larger changes taking place during planned maintenance periods and as funding becomes available.
MOSI, the Museum of Science & Industry, is Tampa Bay’s community-supported science center. At MOSI, people of all ages (this means you!) can see and do amazing things every day. Ride in the only driverless car open to the public in North America, witness the future in 3D Printing: The Exhibition, experience an immersive film in the Florida Hospital IMAX® DOME Theatre, see the stars in the Saunders Planetarium, have a blast in our Kids In Charge children’s science center, wonder at nature in our BioWorks Butterfly Garden, and defy gravity on our Sky Trail® Ropes Course and Zip Line. MOSI (we pronounce it MOH’-zee) is the largest science center in the Southeast, and a not-for-profit magnet for innovation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education where we make a difference in people’s lives by making science real for people of all ages and backgrounds. For more information about MOSI, visit mosi.org.
BCOTB, Behavioral Consulting of Tampa Bay, implements Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with an emphasis on verbal behavior for children with autism and related disorders. BCOTB’s skill acquisition programs are customized for each child’s learning needs and focus on teaching language and communication, self-help skills, compliance behavior and appropriate peer and social skills. BCOTB provides discreet trial teaching in addition to natural environment teaching, while using errorless learning techniques. To maintain the highest level of service, BCOTB’s Board Certified Behavior Analysts provide intensive training and daily supervision to its Behavior Therapists.