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Look: Quiet room at Yas Mall to provide safe haven for people with autism

A 'quiet hour' will also be implemented from 11am to 12pm on the first Monday of every month


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Thu 28 Oct 2021, 2:47 PM

People on the autistic spectrum can now escape the bustling shopping environment at Yas Mall Abu Dhabi and find solace in its 'quiet room'.

Alongside the sensory-controlled room, a 'quiet hour' initiative was introduced to support people with autism.

The initiative, launched this year in collaboration with the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO), is the first of its kind in the region.

Yas Mall management said they will implement the quiet hour on the first Monday of every month from 11am to 12pm.

The ZHO had made an agreement with key commercial centres in Abu Dhabi for the initiative, which requires the implementation of sensory control measures, including reducing light brightness, cancellation of background music in stores and limiting odours from perfume and incense stores.

In addition, advertisements will also be halted, except for emergency information. The initiative further requires that some store activities, such as restocking shelves and arranging stocks, be restricted during the quiet hour.

Abdullah Abdulalee Alhumaidan, secretary-general of ZHO, said: “The emirate of Abu Dhabi is keen to provide a decent life for all segments of society, especially people of determination, including those on the autism spectrum, as it has established specialised centres to provide them with support and rehabilitative services, working toward their empowerment and social inclusion, while recognising the immeasurable value of family support for such initiatives.”


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Saud Khoury, CEO of retail at Aldar Investments, said: “We understand that spending time in the mall can be an anxious and stressful experience for some individuals, and through this launch, we aim to help alleviate such anxiety by providing a therapeutic environment customized to their needs and preferences.

"This pioneering step highlights how small changes can create a more inclusive environment and have a significant positive impact on the lives of not only those who face sensory challenges, but also to the general population, thus enhancing awareness."

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