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Autism-Friendly Play Session Success - The Ice Cream Farm

Autism-Friendly Play Session Success

Inclusivity is really important to us here at The Ice Cream Farm and last weekend we hosted our very first, pilot autism-friendly play session to give autistic families the opportunity to enjoy a ‘relaxed play’ session away from the crowds.

 

Did you know that 2.8 million people are directly affected by autism in the UK and around 1 in every 100 customers to visitor attraction are autistic? For many autistic people, sounds that can ordinarily be subconsciously blocked out, become unbearably loud and distracting.

 

We worked closely with The National Autistic Society Cheshire West and Chester branch in the run up to the event. We made a variety of adjustments to our activities to ensure the time was as enjoyable as possible for the families that came along.

 

 

We all know how loud a digger can be and Dizzy, Dexter, Digby and Dusty our resident JCBs are no exception to this, which is why we handed out ear protectors at SCOOP to minimise the noise level. The music in The Loft was also switched off completely, the volume on Rocket’s quadbikes at Silvercone was turned right down to zero and all the hand dryers around the farm were out of use during the session.

 

We also had a team of ‘Enablers’, who took part in The National Autistic Society’s ‘Too Much Information’ training session before the event to ensure they were fully trained. Clearly visible around the farm with orange coloured t-shirts, they were on hand to help families with any issues.

 

 

Because we didn’t want the farm to be too busy, the session was available for families to book online via the National Autistic Society Cheshire West and Chester Branch’s social media pages and within less than a day all the slots were booked up and a waiting list was created!

 

We couldn’t quite believe how popular it was, but it definitely demonstrated the need for this type of event. Feedback forms were given to the families who came to the session and as it stands, we’re hoping to introduce more ‘relaxed  play’ sessions over the coming year, so watch this space!