Families thrilled with Royal Show chill out space

Families in Western Australia have given the seal of approval to facilities which make popular public events such as the Perth Royal Show more accessible for people with disability.

For the first time at the annual event, parents and children with disability were able to enjoy a chill out space away from the overwhelming sights and sounds of the Show.

Organised by APM Communities in partnership with Mission Australia and Wanslea, the chill out space was popular with young children, adults, carers and family members.

“The Chill Out Space was a great success and had over 250 children spending time and relaxing in the space,” said Anthony Pyle, from APM Communities.

“We had even more parents and passers-by look in and learn more about the purpose of the space and commented on what a good idea this initiative is.”

As well as the chill out space, teams from the three organisations, who deliver NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) services in WA, also handed out sensory maps allowing parents to know where high-sensory areas were across the showgrounds.

“Not everyone understood what a sensory map was, although once we explained, we received feedback of what a good idea it was to support those with disabilities who attend the show,” Anthony said.

Show organisers the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia also provided 1500 free tickets to the show for people with disability as they worked with APM Communities to make the event more inclusive and accessible.

Also as part of the Royal Show, which occurs every year during the school holidays, organisers held a first ever quiet hour where all ride noises, music and lights were reduced or switched off.

This allowed families and children with disability or autism, to enjoy more of the show.

How visitors engaged with the chill out space

Krystal came in to check out the space with her service dog Rex.

Krystal explained how Rex helped her when she was out in the community and that she loved the space and could have stayed all day.

The opportunity for Krystal to come into the chill out space and rest was perfect for her to escape the noise and crowds at the show when she needed too.

Jackson and his dad Simon come through to the space after receiving free tickets NDIS Partners in the Community program.

The chill out space allowed the family to try the show without the fear of having to leave quickly if it was too overwhelming for Jackson.

As a result Jackson had a great time in the space and was there for almost an hour playing with all the different sensory activities and toys.

Sally Dawson brought her three grandchildren who live with disability to the chill out space as soon as she arrived from the train.

This gave them time to play calmly for 40 minutes and settle into the show before heading out and exploring.

Sally came back later to let us know they had managed four hours around the show without tantrums or challenging behaviours which was a real win for her family.

Anthony said the teams had similar feedback from other families throughout their time at the Show.

“We saw that families were surprised but happy that the quiet hour and sensory space had allowed them to stay longer at the show,” he added.

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