On May 26th, we’ll once again be partnering with CoderDojo’s Coolest Projects, a world-leading showcase that empowers and inspires the next generation of digital creators and innovators.
This year, however, we’re doing something a little bit different.
We’re delighted to announce that we’ve joined forces with AsIAm – an autism charity set out to educate the public about autism while empowering the autism community in Ireland – to create a Quiet Room at this year’s event.
If you’re unfamiliar with Quiet Rooms, Gáibhin McGranaghan, Information Officer with AsIAm, is here to offer an insight into what they are and why they’re so important.
What is a Quiet Room?
Sensory or ‘quiet’ spaces are designated areas where autistic people or those with sensory conditions can stim in or retreat to when feeling overstimulated.
The space is designed to aid in an autistic person’s key life skills, chiefly with their communication, coordination, self-organisation and sensory-management. Autistic children often make use of such facilities in their schools, but they can also be outfitted for adults in their workplaces.
Spaces designed for this purpose offer an opportunity for people to engage in crisis de-escalation strategies, whilst promoting self-care, self-nurturance, resilience and recovery.
Who benefits from a Quiet Room?
Any individual with sensory conditions, developmental disabilities, or learning difficulties benefits. A sensory room can give these people a special place to escape to and feel safe and secure in.
Including such a setting in your workplace helps make real progress towards making environments easier for all individuals to adapt to, and it demonstrates a strong commitment to promoting autism inclusion. Providing a sensory-friendly area for autistic colleagues will enable them to boost productivity in what can be demanding situations.
These designated quiet areas are also useful for any individual in the workplace who may need to take a moment out during the day. The setting is specifically designed to relax and be accessible across the board, for employees and employers alike.
What we're doing at Coolest Projects and why
More than 15,000 people are expected to attend the seventh annual event on May 26th, and we wanted to ensure everyone attending The RDS on the day feels included and has a quiet space to go to if needed.
For those with autism, participation at events can pose a number of challenges and can, at times, be more stressful than enjoyable. Large events such as Coolest Projects are busy, socially intensive environments; these factors can pose barriers to people and families affected by autism trying to enjoy a great day out. To comfort guests who may need a place to retreat to on the day of the event, The Dock's Quiet Room will be softly lit with a variety of soft furnishings including beanbags and cushions, and sensory pieces such as fidget spinners.
Awareness about autism has increased in society in recent years, and by being cognizant of each other’s needs and by creating spaces like Quiet Rooms, it helps us make real progress towards ensuring situations and environments are easier for everyone to adapt to.