First Autism Friendly Sensory Room Opens At Shannon Airport
Leading the way in inclusive travelling, Shannon Airport has opened Europe's first sensory room. This area is designed for passengers with neurodevelopmental challenges such as autism, allowing air travel to be an easier experience for all passengers.
The opening of the room comes ahead of World Autism Day on April 2nd.
With a recent study suggesting 1 in 65 Irish children have an autism diagnosis, this is an inspiring step forwards. The new area is available for use by both children and adults and has been tailored to provide a soothing space away from the hectic activity of a busy airport. Designed by education and therapy company Adam & Friends, child-friendly items in the room include an aquatic bubble tube, an undulating wavy wall, gentle colour-changing LED’s and a wheel projector.
How wonderful would it be if such rooms came as standard? Shannon Airport’s director of operations Niall Maloney urged other Irish and international airports to take similar steps.
“I’m both delighted and proud that an Irish airport, Shannon Airport, is the first to introduce a sensory room in Europe, It’s in keeping with Shannon’s special reputation for looking after its passengers.
"The introduction last year of its hats and wristbands programme and the addition this year of the sensory room is our way of showing our support for our customers with autism and special needs. I would dearly love it if other airports around Ireland and the world participated in this".
“It’s one thing for Shannon to put these provisions in place but if all other airports participated in this programme, so that when the passenger arrives on the other side they also get special treatment, then that would be a huge gift to people with special needs and their families,” he said.
The creation of areas such as this makes air travel more accessible for everyone. Would you like to see sensory spaces become more common? Share your thoughts below!