Decompression areas are modelled after the dark sensory room at the Dubai Autism Centre
Expo 2020 Dubai has come up with four quiet rooms for those visitors who may feel overwhelmed by the dazzling array of activities lined up at the world’s greatest show, which kicks off this Friday.
The ‘decompression areas’ are modelled after the dark sensory room at the Dubai Autism Centre to provide respite to people on the autism spectrum or those suffering from anxiety or sensory sensitivities.
There is an interesting back story behind the origin of these rooms.
Reem Al Hashmy, the Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, was visiting Dubai Autism Centre when she stopped by at the facility’s dark sensory room where children learn to regulate their brain’s reactions to external stimuli.
“She was so impressed by the facility that she suggested we help replicate it at the Expo,” said Nicholas Orland, autism programme head at the Dubai Autism Centre.
The four quiet rooms will form part of a truly accessible Expo 2020 site designed to cater to all needs and features a variety of amenities to empower visitors, which are aligned to one of the key sub-themes Opportunity.
Organisers said the dedicated ‘Quiet Rooms’ would be located within the information centres at visitor centres 1, 3, 4 and 6.
Each room will contain a sofa, innovative sensory pod and sensory corner for “people feeling overstimulated, overwhelmed or anxious”, according to Expo’s official website.
The universal expo has recently received the prestigious ‘Sensory Accessible Event’ certification by the International Board of Sensory Accessibility. This is the first time the certificate has been awarded to an event in the area connecting the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.