The Ice Cream Farm, home to the world's largest ice cream shop, has been working closely with 'The National Autistic Society' (Cheshire West and Cheshire Branch), and hosted a pilot autism-friendly play session last Sunday, 5 March.
Autism affects around 1 in 100 people in the UK. For many autistic people, sounds that can ordinarily be subconsciously blocked out, become unbearably loud and distracting.
As such, a series of adjustments to the park's activities were put in place to ensure the time was as enjoyable as possible for families. Ear protectors were handed out on the 'JCBs at SCOOP' to minimise noise, the music in 'The Loft' was switched off and the volume was turned down to zero on the quadbikes at 'Silvercone'.
There were also a number of 'Enablers' on hand to help families with any issues. Clearly visible with orange coloured t-shirts, the 'Enablers' attended the National Autistic Society's 'Too Much Information' training session prior to the event.
To ensure the environment was not overly busy, sessions were available for families to book online via the National Autistic Society Cheshire West and Cheshire Branch's social media pages. Within a day all slots were fully booked, demonstrating the demand for this type of event.
The families in attendance were invited to complete exit feedback forms and, with the pilot session deemed a success, The Ice Cream Farm hopes to introduce monthly 'relaxed play' sessions over the coming year.