Northland Shopping Centre
In June 2014, Northland Shopping Centre partnered with Amaze (formerly Autism Victoria) to open Australia’s first shopping centre ‘Quiet Room’, a sensory soothing space for individuals with Autism.
Built entirely by local contractors and businesses, and led by a passionate committee with members having been personally touched by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the ‘Quiet Room’ was introduced to give the 55,000 Victorians affected by ASD and their carers, a positive shopping experience.
ASD affects 1 in every 100-110 people and often impairs their ability to cope with public spaces. Parents with children on the spectrum find it difficult to visit shopping centres, for fear of their child experiencing an overload of sensory stimulation.
Adolescents and adults with ASD can be equally overwhelmed. Northland constructed the specially designed ‘Quiet Room’ to offer individuals and their carers a space to reduce their anxiety, where they could access power, sensory soothing items and other useful materials to help reduce over-stimulation.
Within a month, the ‘Quiet Room’ attracted over $283,000 positive media coverage across more than 50 global and national media outlets and reached more than 12 million consumers. Social media played a pivotal role in promoting the ‘Quiet Room’ reaching 64,000 people via 4340 Facebook shares, likes and comments.
In just two weeks of public access, more than 50 local families and individuals registered for the ‘Quiet Room’. The room is being used on a daily basis with regular repeat visitation by local shoppers and is constantly attracting positive feedback.