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A new state of the art sensory and social space for autism thanks to Variety

Autism SA, on November 13, officially opened its state-of-the-art sensory and social space at the organisation’s new service and support facility in Elizabeth, thanks to a grant from Variety – the Children’s Charity.

Primarily designed for individuals on the autism spectrum, their families and carers, Autism SA’s Northern Hub includes a range of therapy and consultancy rooms, a training facility, day options spaces and the Variety Sensory and Social Space.

This purpose-built space will continue to evolve with new technologies added to deliver a sensory haven and safe space for kids and teens on the spectrum. The first stage is now complete and offering exciting new equipment, imported from Spain, to provide a fully interactive experience through the synchronised use of a projector, LED lighting, a bubble machine, an LED ball pit, pulsating cushions, fans and aromatherapy.

Jenny Karavolos, CEO of Autism SA, highlights the importance of such a space in the northern suburbs, “Autism SA’s vision is for children and teens living with autism and other special needs – and their siblings, parents, carers and friends – to have access to safe spaces to learn, socialise and be exposed to new experiences. We’re so grateful that Variety SA was able to share in our belief in the benefits of this exciting facility in the northern suburbs”. 

The grant from the Variety Sprout Fund has also enabled Autism SA to convert the space into a therapy site, offering soft play equipment, like stairs, tunnels, slides and mats, as well as a range of art and craft supplies.

“It is a totally demountable, adaptable space providing a structured and motivating learning environment. It’s such a delight to see the smiles on everyone’s faces when therapy becomes fun!”, say Ms Karavolos.

“Variety is thrilled to assist 1,200 additional children living in the northern metropolitan areas through the creation of this sensory space. This space is designed to create better outcomes for children living with autism, by allowing them to be calm and focused, assisting with gross motor development and enhancing social skills. It is another example of how Variety addresses the growing unmet need in our State. We sincerely thank all of our supporters who enable us to continue to do such positive work for the community” says Variety SA CEO, Mark McGill on providing this generous support.

The entire room is controlled with a single touch on the interactive floor mat or by an iPad. This gives the user complete control over their own experiences, enabling them to choose their own adventure, which is an essential tool for life.

“Just imagine you are looking at an image of the ocean, the room will look, feel and sound like the ocean. You can then easily change the experience to be in a rainforest as your next adventure. This provides a real-life experience for an individual that they may not otherwise be able to have. The sensory elements, paired with activities based around the child’s interests, encourages engagement and supports successful task performance” says Ms Karavolos.

The next stage of the Variety Sprout Fund Grant will be used to provide innovative gaming and experiential experiences, primarily aimed at teens on the spectrum in the North. And this will be followed by the development of a similar space in the South, to be opened in 2020.

Located at 1/57 Elizabeth Way, Elizabeth, the Northern Hub will be launched on 13 November 2018 at 10am. On the day, invited families and guests will have the opportunity to observe and test out this innovative equipment in Autism SA’s new Northern Hub.

For further information contact Cassie Raymond, Autism SA - Marketing and Events Manager, 0437 366 902 Autism SA