Christmas is an absolute feast for the senses – it’s one of the things that we love about the festive season: all the sights, sounds, smells and general festive sensations.
We also know though that whilst all this rich sensory activity is exciting and joyous for many, it can have the opposite effect for people with autism or other sensory conditions. Grotto visits to see Father Christmas and his elf helpers can be impossible for some families due to the mix of flashing lights, festive music and for some children, even just seeing grown-ups wearing beards or costumes.
At Eureka! we’re really proud to be autism-friendly – we even got the award this year! – so we decided that it was about time that we took a look at what we could do to open up our festive activities to more people, hence the creation of our Autism-Friendly grotto sessions!
Our team are all trained in autism awareness, and for our dedicated grotto sessions we’ll also tailor the sessions in a number of ways by:
- turning off any flashing festive lights
- having bookable sessions to prevent the need to queue (for general grotto sessions it’s first-come, first-served)
- adjust lighting to suit each child (some prefer dimmed lighting, some prefer the lights right up)
- turn the festive music off!
- Remove beards or any costume items that are triggers for individual children.
At the start of each 10 minute visit, our elf will discuss your child’s individual requirements, before nipping in to see Santa and make sure that everything is just as you requested.
So when’s it happening?
Our grotto is open every weekend from 25 November, and daily from 16-23 December 2017.
Autism-friendly sessions will run from 10am-11am on grotto days, with bookable 10 minute slots available (book at the the Info Desk on arrival). The grotto will open to the general public at 11am.
Standard grotto charge of £3 per child applies, and includes a small gift for each child. Find out more about our accessible facilities.