Wyndham city trials autism-friendly environment

Wyndham City is making all libraries and community centres autism friendly as part of a three-month pilot program designed increase inclusion for people with autism.

Council is working towards making every space comfortable for those on the autism spectrum and is aiming to become an Autism Friendly City.

The trial, in conjunction with Amaze Australia, engaged people with autism to visit the Council facilities and share what they felt could be done to improve the environment.

These measures were assessed and will be rolled out in the next three months.

Family Friendly Portfolio Holder and Wyndham City Mayor Cr Mia Shaw said with one in 70 people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, the community needed more supportive facilities to suit their sensory needs.

“Council is leading the way with these inclusion measures and hopes to encourage local businesses, institutions and community facilities to adopt similar approaches,” Cr Shaw said.

Studies show that between 69 and 95 per cent of those with autism diagnosis experience sensory processing that is atypical and removal or change of environment is the common strategy that people with autism practise to cope with and manage their sensory processing.

Cr Shaw said as well as some of environmental changes, Council was offering autism awareness training to staff at all facilities.

Some of the changes Council is making at facilities include the creation of sensory scripts, which are stories about what to expect once they arrive and visitor guides for local towns and cities, which include pre-planning information, and the creation of quiet rooms and spaces.

Cr Shaw said such systems provided more opportunity, engagement, and participation for residents with disability, which enriched the community and made it a more inclusive place for everyone.”

Council, Amaze, and the autistic community will go on to develop a friendly cities toolkit, including online resources for autistic people and the wider community to use to use when supporting the inclusion of autistic people in their local areas.

Following the trial period, Council will evaluate the program and hopefully roll it out permanently as well as providing feedback and improvements so other councils implement the same program.

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