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Expo 2020 Dubai: Quiet rooms set up to soothe 'anxious, overwhelmed' visitors

Mazhar Farooqui/Dubai
Filed on September 28, 2021
Photo: Dubai Media Office

Four dedicated areas will be available for those suffering from sensory overload

Expo 2020 Dubai has come up with four quiet rooms for visitors who may feel overwhelmed by the dazzling array of activities lined up at the world’s greatest show that kicks off this Friday.

The ‘decompression areas’ are modelled after the dark sensory room at Dubai Autism Centre, to provide respite to people on the autism spectrum or those suffering from anxiety or sensory sensitivities.

There is an interesting back story behind the origins of the rooms.

As it turns out, Reem Al Hashmy, the director general of Expo2020 Dubai, was visiting Dubai Autism Centre when she stopped by at the facility’s dark sensory room where children learn to regulate their brain’s reactions to external stimuli.

“She was so impressed by the facility that she suggested we help replicate it at the Expo,” said Nicholas Orland, autism programme head at Dubai Autism Centre.

The four quiet rooms will form part of a truly accessible Expo 2020 site designed to cater to all needs and feature a variety of amenities to empower visitors, in line with the key sub-theme of Opportunity.

Organisers said the dedicated Quiet Rooms will be located within the information centres at Visitor Centres 1, 3, 4 and 6.

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Each room will contain a sofa, innovative sensory pod, and sensory corner for “people feeling overstimulated, overwhelmed or anxious”, according to Expo’s official website.

Recently, Expo 2020 Dubai received the prestigious 'Sensory Accessible Event' certification by the International Board of Sensory Accessibility. This is the first time the certificate has been awarded to an event in the area connecting the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.





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