Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Expo 2020 Dubai: four quiet rooms to soothe raw nerves

Decompression zones are modeled after the dark sensory room of the Dubai Autism Center

Expo 2020 Dubai has developed four quiet venues for visitors who might feel overwhelmed by the dazzling array of activities planned at the world’s largest trade fair, which kicks off this Friday.

The “Decompression Zones” are inspired by the dark sensory room at the Dubai Autism Center to provide respite for people with the autism spectrum or those suffering from anxiety or sensory sensitivities.

There is an interesting story behind the origin of these chambers.

Reem Al Hashmy, Managing Director of Expo 2020 Dubai, was visiting the Dubai Autism Center when she stopped by the facility’s dark sensory room where children learn to regulate their brains’ responses to external stimuli .

“She was so impressed with the installation that she suggested that we help replicate it at the Expo,” said Nicholas Orland, Autism Program Manager at the Dubai Autism Center.

The four quiet rooms will be part of a truly accessible Expo 2020 site designed to meet all needs and feature a variety of facilities to empower visitors, which are aligned with one of the key Opportunity sub-themes.

The organizers said the dedicated “silent rooms” would be located in the information centers of reception centers 1, 3, 4 and 6.

Each room will contain a sofa, an innovative sensory capsule and a sensory corner for “people feeling over-excited, overwhelmed or anxious,” according to the official Expo website.

The World Expo recently received the prestigious ‘Sensory Accessible Event’ certification by the International Board of Sensory Accessibility. This is the first time that the certificate has been awarded at an event in the area linking the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

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