Melbourne, Australia – Northland Shopping Centre in Preston has opened Australia’s first ever shopping centre ‘Quiet Room,’ a sensory soothing space for individuals with Autism. The Quiet Room was unveiled by Amaze CEO Fiona Sharkie and Darebin Mayor Gaetano Greco officially last week.
The room was developed by the centre through a partnership with Amaze, a not-for-profit Autism organization based in Victoria. The pioneering ‘Quiet Room’ concept has been introduced in a bid to give the 55,000 Victorians affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) a more positive shopping experience.
Fiona Sharkis, CEO of Amaze explained,
“It can be very difficult for parents with children on the spectrum to be able to come out to public places, such as shopping centres, for fear of their child having a ‘meltdown’ due to too much sensory stimulation. And not just children – adolescents and adults with ASD are often overwhelmed by the sensory experience that is shopping!”
The space features a calming pastel colour scheme, muted lights, bean bags and other sensory play objects, with registered users having access to private cubicles.
The Quiet Room was built entirely by local volunteers and businesses and led by a passionate committee with many members having been personally touched by ASD.
The centre itself is Melbourne’s biggest single level shopping centre and has been operating for 48 years.