Autism Spectrum Disorder

at The Henry Ford


Noise-canceling headphones, earplugs and a communication board are available in a sensory assistance kit located at the Welcome Center ticket desk and the Greenfield Village ticket building.

Please note that the Manufacturing Innovation Theater at the Ford Rouge Factory Tour is a multimedia, multisensory experience that may be overwhelming to some guests with sensory sensitivities or other medical conditions.

Earplugs are available for use in the Manufacturing Innovation Theater at the Ford Rouge Factory Tour to minimize the sound. Please contact a staff member for assistance.

The Henry Ford has worked with the Autism Alliance of Michigan to create social narratives (pre-visit planning tools that use pictures and text) to help prepare guests on the autism spectrum for a visit. View the social narrative for Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village and Ford Rouge Factory Tour.

Sensory-friendly maps provide information on areas with loud sounds, smells, mobility considerations, quiet, and more. A sensory-friendly map is available for:

Quiet spaces are located throughout all venues of The Henry Ford. Quiet spaces in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation include: front of the museum near the Allegheny Locomotive, back wall behind the Railroads and Driving America exhibits, and back wall behind the Made in America Power exhibit. In Greenfield Village, there are many quiet, open outdoor spaces. At the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, quiet spaces include the lobby or Legacy Gallery on Floor 1, the mezzanine before entering the assembly plant on Floor 2 and the small conference room at the end of the first assembly plant walkway near windshield install. A quiet space at the Giant Screen Experience can be found on the second level, outside the exit doors.

Staff members of The Henry Ford have participated in the Michigan Autism Safety Training provided by the Autism Alliance of Michigan to better understand the characteristics of autism and how to recognize and communicate with someone with autism.

Sensory Friendly Programming

For nearly 20 years, The Henry Ford has sought to provide safe, unique and engaging experiences for our members, guests and families with ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder and SPD, Sensory Processing Disorder.

Our Sensory Friendly programming has been designed specifically for the ASD/SPD audience using expert advice and guidance from a network of medical and educational partnerships. Sensory Friendly days, events, programs and ternaries vary throughout the year, but at their foundation are accommodations that provide access to a broad range of experiences here at The Henry Ford.

Sensory Friendly events & programming typically include the following:

  • Pre-visit materials (i.e. social narratives)
  • Sensory friendly maps
  • Noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs
  • Quiet zones
  • Modifications to sensory input (For example, lights up, volume down in the Giant Screen Experience)
  • Access to exclusive time slots or customized programming (for select events)
  • Specialized training for our staff
  • Free admission (for select events)

In the fall of 2020, our Sensory Friendly programming received a significant grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This grant enables us to significantly expand our current sensory friendly programming to provide access to over 18,000 guests with ASD/SPD and their families within the funding period of three years.

imls logo


Please feel free to contact with any questions or comments. For more information about The Henry Ford and the history of our ASD programming, check out our blog.