Australian property development company Stockland has created a first-of-a-kind sensory map of its shopping centres to assist customers with autism, and their families.
The sensory maps created in partnership with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) will give people on the spectrum an opportunity to better navigate new environments.
Aspect’s Autism Friendly team carried out assessments at Stockland’s retail town centres at Green Hills, Merrylands, Point Cook, Shellharbour, Wetherill Park and Wendouree.
The assessments involved consultants visiting the centres on a typically busy day and providing feedback on their overall experience and advice on the challenges, solutions and positives for common areas.
Michelle Abbey, executive GM for retail town centres, said the company is delighted to roll out the sensory maps, especially during the World Autism Understanding Month.
“We’re now creating more opportunities for customers on the autism spectrum, and those with other hidden disabilities, to access our centres with colour-coded sensory maps that highlight different zones from sensory-friendly zones in blue to high sensory zones in red.”
Jacqui Borland, Aspect CEO, said inclusionary projects are important.
“Having knowledge about that environment, prior to arriving, will help provide certainty and go a long way towards reducing anxiety. It is just such a great step towards a more inclusive and understanding society,” said Borland.
The sensory maps are available for download from the respective shopping centre’s websites and can also be obtained from the customer care desks within the centres.