Autism-friendly sessions have been launched at intu Trafford Centre’s Christmas grotto.
In a bid to provide ‘a relaxed environment to visit Father Christmas’, the Polar Expedition experience at the Trafford Centre Manchester will cater for a much smaller group of visitors in an early morning session, meaning no stressful queuing is involved.
The approach to the grotto via Barton Square will be calm and quiet – with music and fountains turned off – while designated autism-friendly elves are on hand to support families through the visit and direct children to a quiet space should they need it.
The volume of music in the grotto will also be reduced and children can choose whether they want a photo taken with Father Christmas or an elf.
The team from intu Trafford Centre have worked closely with special educational needs coordinators from Salford City Council Starting Life Well Team and local School St Hugh of Lincoln in Stretford to create an autism-friendly social story for parents and carers to download from the website ahead of their visit.
And it’s not the only autism-friendly grotto coming to Greater Manchester this year.
Mum-of-six Jan Barkworth runs support group AutiSK and has launched another at Adswood Young People’s Centre in Stockport.
Jan, who has five children with the condition, says the grotto will ‘avoid the sensory overload of shopping centres’ and ‘relieve the stress of visiting Santa if your child or young person has additional needs’.
Read more at: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/family-kids-news/trafford-centre-autism-christmas-grotto-13900326