Shannon Airport has opened a sensory room for travellers with neurodevelopmental challenges, including autism. The sensory room, the first of its kind at a European airport, provides a relaxing environment for child and adult passengers ahead of their flight.
Designed by Adam & Friends, it is tailored to be a soothing place away from the activity of a busy airport. It includes facilities such as an aquatic bubble tube, an undulated wavy wall, colour changing LEDs, and a wheel projector.
The opening of the sensory room follows last year’s launch of another initiative to help de-stress the airport experience for travellers with autism and special needs. Anyone who needs extra support can wear a cap or wristband to ensure that they are immediately identified by staff, who can provide them with special treatment.
Niall Maloney, Director of Operations at Shannon Airport, said: “I’m both delighted and proud that an Irish airport, Shannon Airport, is the first to introduce a sensory room in Europe. It’s in keeping with Shannon’s special reputation for looking after its passengers. The introduction last year of its hats and wristbands programme and the addition this year of the sensory room is our way of showing our support for our customers with autism and special needs.”
He continued: “I would dearly love it if other airports around Ireland and the world participated in this. It’s one thing for Shannon to put these provisions in place but if all other airports participated in this programme so that when the passenger arrives on the other side, they also get special treatment, then that would be a huge gift to people with special needs and their families.”