The smells, sounds and flashing lights of the Royal Adelaide Show return to Wayville Showground on Saturday, after a two-year, COVID-driven hiatus. For many, its reappearance on the community calendar is an exciting and welcome one. Yet for those with sensory sensitivities or complex medical needs, the popular event can sometimes be a little overwhelming.
The challenges of navigating the show with a wheelchair or finding a hygienic space to administer medications or manage special feeding requirements means sometimes, the easier option is to simply stay at home.
But not this year.
Tonsley Innovation District business, Link Assistive, has joined forces with leading disability service provider sacare and show organisers to create a Carers Lounge – a thoughtfully curated space where carers, support workers, families, and people with disability can unwind or tend to medical requirements in comfort, quiet, and with dignity.
The idea was sparked by the mother of seven-year-old Adelaide boy Jake, who has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, and cannot eat food the standard way. Jake’s mother Karina (and sacare’s Marketing Co-ordinator) had become increasingly frustrated by the lack of private, clean places to feed her non-verbal, non-mobile son through a special tube when out on family adventures across the city. sacare stepped in to find a solution.
The lounge will be fitted out with high-tech multisensory equipment, kindly donated by Link Assistive’s dedicated sensory division, Link Sensory, including interactive screens, bubble tubes, fibre optic lights and an interactive floor projection known as a ‘magic carpet’.
“There will be a sensory space for children and adults wanting to take time out from the noise and excitement of the show,” sacare Chief Executive Chloe Kempe said.
“Adjoining the multi-sensory room will be a kitchen and lounge area with complimentary coffee, an area for feed and medicine preparation, medical equipment cleaning and comfortable seating to administer medications and food.”
There will also be an accessible change room complete with a height adjustable change table, hoist, and all the modern conveniences for both carers and people with disability to tend to personal needs in a hygienic and comfortable setting.
“We think it’s important to be involved in our local community and are excited for members of the SA public to be able to experience the calming and engaging benefits of the sensory technology we supply as part of our sensory room design and install service,” Link Assistive Managing Director Bas Tijdhof said.
“Link Assistive supports the inclusion of sensory spaces at community events to allow attendees with disabilities and sensory processing differences to take some time out and be soothed by the calming sights and sounds that our technology offers.”
The Carers Lounge collaboration aims to give the disability community the same access to, and experience of, the much-loved event as everyone else.
The Carers Lounge is free to access. It is open from 9am to 9pm daily and is located next to The Learning Centre and Tasting SA pavilions.
Left to right: Chloe Kempe (SACARE CEO), Jake and his mum Karina McDonald (Marketing Coordinator at SACARE). Photo credit: MILCO media.
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