IRELAND is now home to the first European airport sensory room developed for children and adults with autism and other neurodevelopmental challenges.
The sensory room at Shannon Airport, designed by Adam & Friends, features facilities such as an aquatic bubble tube, an undulated wavy wall, colour changing LEDs and a wheel projector.
Located off the airport’s Departure Lounge it is tailored to be a soothing place away from the activity of a busy airport.
Its launch comes in the same week as World Autism Day on April 2.
This is not the first project of this kind at Shannon Airport - last year it introduced official caps and wristbands for people with autism so that they are immediately identified by staff and receive the special treatment they deserve.
Niall Maloney, Director of Operations at Shannon Airport, has urged other Irish and international airports to get on board.
“I would dearly love it if other airports around Ireland and the world participated in this," Mr Maloney said.
“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.”
Shannon has recently invested €3million in upgrading its terminal building.
Rose Hynes, Chairman Shannon Group, said: “We know that, for some of our families and individual passengers, air travel and moving through an airport environment –whether it’s dealing with check in, security or boarding - can be a daunting experience.
"The Autism programme is a natural extension of the Airport’s focus on customer care," she added.