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Cheshire Ice Cream Farm hosts autism-friendly play session

Tattenhall tourism attraction opened its doors to families ahead of its normal opening hours

The autism-friendly play session at The Ice Cream Farm on Sunday, March 5

The Cheshire Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall, home to the world’s largest ice cream shop, has been working closely with the National Autistic Society Cheshire West and Cheshire branch, to host a pilot autism-friendly play session.

As one of the Ice Cream Farm’s measures to encourage inclusivity, last Sunday, before its official opening hours, autistic families were invited to enjoy a ‘relaxed play’ session, away from the crowds.

The autism-friendly play session at The Ice Cream Farm on Sunday, March 5

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Autism effects around one in 100 people in the UK. For many autistic people, sounds that can ordinarily be subconsciously blocked out become unbearably loud and distracting.

As such, a series of adjustments to the park’s activities were put in place to ensure the time was as enjoyable as possible for families.

Ear protectors were handed out on the JCBs at Scoop to minimise noise, the music in The Loft was switched off and the volume was turned down to zero on the quadbikes at Silvercone.

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Equally, all the hand dryers at the park during the session were out of use.

There was also a series of ‘enablers’ on hand to help families with any issues.

Clearly visible with orange coloured t-shirts, the enablers attended the National Autistic Society’s Too Much Information training session prior to the event.

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The autism-friendly play session at The Ice Cream Farm on Sunday, March 5

To ensure the environment was not overly busy, sessions were available for families to book online via the National Autistic Society Cheshire West and Cheshire branch’s social media pages.

Within a day all slots were booked up, demonstrating the demand for this type of event.

The families in attendance were invited to fill out exit feedback forms and, with the pilot session deemed a success, the Ice Cream Farm hopes to introduce monthly ‘relaxed play’ sessions over the coming year.

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