Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a disorder that is often misunderstood because people lack awareness of autistic disorders. People who have this disorder often face challenges with their social skills, speech and non-verbal communication. Most autistic people also face sensory issues towards some sights, sounds and other sensations which can make them very uncomfortable.
Thus, taking that into account, Sunway Putra Mall has decided to make its mall autism-friendly in an effort to raise awareness on the disorder. How nice!
The mall management announced that starting next year in January 2019, they will address features which most of us take for granted but are actually problems for the autistic. This includes the flickering, bright lights and volume of ambience music in their mall to make a more autism-friendly environment.
Sunway Putra Mall’s representative, Phang Sau Lian was quoted by Cyber-RT as saying,
“Tenants will also be part of our autism-friendly Tuesdays. These will include priority queues at payment counters for families with autistic members to make their visit to outlets in our mall far more pleasant.”
She then added that the mall will reduce the lighting brightness and ambient music between 10am and 5pm every Tuesday. Besides that, autistic people can also gain maximum benefit from the mall by registering at the concierge counter.
After the registration, they will be given identification bands which will enable them to enjoy many benefits like parking privileges. Phang explained,
“We’re still working out how best to be autism-friendly and this is just the first phase of our mall-wide effort. We welcome feedback from the public and those caring for autistic people so that we can improve.”
Apart from that, the mall has also formed a partnership with Autism Behavioral Center for this initiative.
The centre’s director Charlene Marie Samuel reckoned that such partnerships could open many opportunities for autistic people to explore out of their homes.
“Even a haircut can be a stressful experience, due to sensory overload. While our tried-and-tested therapy methods help autistic people cope with the demands of today’s lifestyles, every little bit to help reduce hurdles they need to otherwise overcome goes a long way.”
If you aren’t aware, Autism Behavioral Center is a private centre based in Bangsar Baru. It’s the largest Applied Behavioural Analysis Therapy (ABA) certified centre in Malaysia and it helps families with autistic members.
This is an amazing start to help people with autistic disorder experience the wondrous world we live in and it’s also a good way to create awareness for the disorder. We hope that business outlets will be inspired by Sunway Putra Mall and make efforts to be even more considerate to people with autistic disorder.
What do you think of this initiative? Let us know in the comments below!
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