Yesterday myself, Kelly and Alison have been as Alphabetically Autistic to the lovely Woodhorn Colliery. We were invited along to give the staff from the Museums & Archives Northumberland an insight into autism from a parents perspective.
For more than 80 years Woodhorn was a coal mine. Work to sink the first shaft began in 1894 and the first coal was brought to the surface in 1898. its peak almost 2,000 men worked at the pit and 600,000 tons of coal was produced each year. Production stopped in 1981 but the shafts continued to be used for neighbouring Ashington Colliery until 1986.
It began its life as a museum in 1989 and following major redevelopment, reopened in October 2006. Today, the yellow Ashington brick buildings have protected, listed status. The site is recognised as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and it is the best surviving example of a late 19th/early 20th century colliery in the North East tradition.
I really struggle taking Reilly out and about as readers of the blog will already know from previous blog posts. It’s always stressful when people just don’t get it. We feel judged and are often tutted at and deemed hopeless parents by those who aren’t in the know.
I love love love the fact that places like Woodhorn want to learn more about autism and how well we were received. They already do an awesome job and have gone above and beyond with Alison’s son Jay in the past and they have had him in as a tester for their brilliant Brick Dinos event.
They already have an excellent website but we gave some more suggestions on how to make it more autism friendly as we all know it’s all in the planning. We got a bit excited when we were told about the Star Wars event that will be coming soon!
I know Reilly is a big fan of the train that runs from Woodhorn. Trains and planes and you are onto a winner with Reilly.
We would love to do more sessions with attractions and share our knowledge with employers and staff so if you know anyone that may benefit please send them this way ❤ more places to visit with a good understanding of autism the better.
To learn more about Woodhorn please see http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com