How To Do It:
Market and Promote the Program

Marketing is two-fold. One is recruiting families and the other is announcing the program to the media.
  • Be clear internally. Does everyone in your organization know about and understand the initiative?
  • Develop a short internal informational flyer. Every level of staff should know about the new initiative. Flyers should be no more than one page, so they can be posted in areas that staff frequent (i.e., mailrooms, lunchrooms) and accessed quickly.
  • Form a Marketing committee with representatives from both institutions and determine which media outlets you would like to target and who is responsible for contacting whom.
  • Develop a joint press release announcing the program/partnership and distribute to media, board members, the Association of Children's Museums, and organizations serving children with special needs. Post the release on your website.
  • Another option for public announcement is to co-host a community forum with your partners that addresses how the community can better serve children of all abilities and their families. Invite educators, parents of children with special needs, elected officials,foundations, corporate executives, and the media. (See Community Forum section for more information.)

Community Forum

Port Discovery Children's Museum and PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs present: Conversations that Count: Creating an Inclusive Future for All Children.

Port Discovery and PACT invited elected officials, board members, educators, funders, and select members from the corporate community to participate in this roundtable discussion. Leaders from the fields of education, disabilities and the community addressed how to be inclusive of children with special needs and engage families in ways that will create long-term community change. The event took place at Port Discovery and coincided with Port Discovery's hosting of access/ABILITY, a highly interactive traveling exhibition created by the Boston Children's Museum and sponsored nationally by the MetLife Foundation. The exhibit featured fun and engaging activities that show the similarities and differences in how each of us, with or without disabilities, go places, communicate, have fun, and learn.
  • Click here for Conversations that Count invitation
  • Click here for Questions for Panelists


The discussion was moderated by a radio personality from our local NPR station. The panel included:
  • Representative from a national corporate foundation that supports Special Needs programs
  • Program Director for Health and Disabilities of a national foundation
  • President and Chief Executive Officer of a large pediatric facility that serves children with special needs
  • A parent of a child with special needs
  • Representative from the State Department of Education, Special Education Division

Outcomes
  • Port Discovery and PACT were able to showcase this award-winning program to key funders in the community.
  • Port Discovery was also able to showcase other programs it offers for children with special needs:
    • Maryland Discovery Days- Port Discovery opens its doors for free 4 times a year for students with disabilities.
    • Terrific Tuesdays- The first Tuesday of every month is reserved for children with special needs and their families.
  • PACT staff participated in joint media promotions including television features that helped promote awareness for its organization as well as the program.
  • The museum has started to integrate universal design practices into exhibits and program development to be more accommodating for children with special needs.
  • The museum now actively recruits representatives from the special needs/special education community to participate in advisory committees and to serve on its Board of Directors.