The Sensory Room is a unique space for children and young adults with autism and other sensory needs. The centre has worked closely with Autism NI to become more autism friendly with specific staff training and Wednesday evenings now being designated quiet evenings. The main mall and retailers will turn off in-store music to help make the shopping experience less stressful for customers affected by autism.
The new sensory room is part of a wider initiative to improve accessibility for all in the centre. The new calming room features fibre optics, bubble tubes and other devices to help remove anxiety if the child or adult becomes distressed, as well as sound and light levels which can be customised throughout, depending on individual needs. It is an ideal place to deal with sensory overloads. Autism NI has also trained six Foyleside staff members to become centre champions. These champions are on hand to assist any child or adult with autism to plan and organise their shopping trips, directing them to the sensory room and other facilities and helping them deal with any possible chaotic experiences.