TNMOC Relaxed Opening Sessions for people with autism

Paessler AG sponsors TNMOC Relaxed Opening Sessions for 2018

Access for people with autism and other special needs

Paessler AG, the global network management specialist and makers of PRTG Network Monitor, is sponsoring the 2018 Relaxed Opening sessions at The National Museum of Computing.

First launched in TNMOC last year to benefit families with autistic children, the Relaxed Opening sessions have been a huge success and already been supported by a Museums + Heritage Prize Fund.

Visitors during the Relaxed Opening sessions know that the Museum will be less busy, and that staff will be particularly alert to their needs. Paessler has provided funding to enable the museum to provide its 2018 Relaxed Opening free of charge to visitors, to train guides and stewards to meet the needs of visitors and to enable further development of the initiative.

Claire Marston, Head of Learning and initiator of the Relaxed Opening sessions at the Museum, explained: “The multi-sensory aspects of the museum that are such an attraction for most of our visitors can induce sensory overload for people who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). They need to know what to expect and to have ways of lowering that sensory input to a comfortable level. That means having fewer people around, having ear protection where necessary, knowing where there are flickering lights and where they can go to chill out if it all gets a bit too overwhelming. And they need staff and stewards who understand these issues and will offer understanding assistance. We are so pleased that Paessler is offering such generous support for the venture.

Natalie Pratt, Marketing Manager at Paessler, said, “We encounter children with autism among so many of our friends’ and neighbours’ families that we immediately realised the significance of these Relaxed Opening sessions run by the Museum. We appreciate that simple things like free entry is hugely important for families with autistic children, and we are keen to help them enjoy what the Museum has to offer. We are also investigating environmental monitoring possibilities, which could alleviate some of the stress of foreign surroundings.

Previous visitors also agree about the importance and enjoyability of Relaxed Opening sessions. Mary Hooks, mother of Jenson, aged 13 and who has Asperger syndrome, said, “It was very refreshing to be met with staff who had an idea of my son’s struggles, offering the use of headphones and warning us of noise areas and pointing out the chill-out zone. We all really enjoyed it. He was in his element having long in-depth conversations about computers and coding.

Eleven-year-old Jake, wearing his ear protectors in front of the whirring Colossus, accompanied his mother and younger brother and described what the session meant to him: “I’ve enjoyed it a lot more today because there’s not so many crowds and I’ve loved playing and looking at all the old computer systems.

This year, there will be Relaxed Opening sessions, sponsored by Paessler, from 10.30am to 12 noon on:

  • Sunday 18 February 2018
  • Friday 6 April 2018
  • Friday 1 June 2018
  • Friday 27 July 2018
  • Friday 24 August 2018
  • Friday 2 November 2018

Early registration is strongly recommended because visitor numbers must be limited. To register please email

To help visitors, sensory maps and a visual story are available on the TNMOC website so that they can know exactly what unusual sounds and sights to expect in particular parts of the Museum.