On 2 February, Life Science Centre in Newcastle launched a brand-new series of events for people with autism and other sensory needs in partnership with North East Autism Society.
Sensory-friendly Sundays are dedicated quiet hours for people with autism and other sensory needs. At these monthly events, lighting and sound levels are altered in the science centre’s exhibitions and visitors can enjoy a relaxed performance in the North’s biggest planetarium.
Michelle Alexander’s 12-year-old daughter, Joella, has been part of the group of young people working with Life over the past year. The mother and daughter attended Life’s first Sensory-friendly Sunday and were proud to see the hard work of Joella and the young people come to fruition.
“We had a great time on Sunday,” Michelle said. “It was such a calm and relaxed morning, and we’re looking forward to coming to the next event.”
The sessions are intended to open up the science centre to people with autism and to help people with autism transition into attending the venue during normal opening hours or attending one of Life’s many special events.
David Jones, Community Liaison Manager at Life, said: “For the past year, we’ve been working with North East Autism Society to ensure Life Science Centre is a more inclusive, welcoming space for the community.
“The families have had an important role in prototyping and designing our two new exhibitions – Space Zone and the Making Studios – and I’m proud to see all their efforts culminating in this brand-new series of events.”
As well as making alterations to the exhibition spaces, ear defenders, for both adults and children, and sensory packs will be available for visitors.
Kerrie Highcock, Family Development Manager at North East Autism Society, said: “We’ve been working closely with Life on a pioneering project to ensure that the autistic voice is represented in relation to access at the science centre.
This project has not only given a group of autistic youngsters the opportunity to have a voice about their experiences and what is important to them, it has enabled them to develop in confidence.”
Normal admission prices apply for the events, and tickets can be bought online in advance.