Autism Ontario Niagara Chapter has provided programs and services throughout the Niagara region for over 35 years. Our vision is “Best life, Better world, Making autism matter”, which is why we made it our goal to reduce barriers to children, youth and adults with autism, along with their families by partnering with Christ Community Church to offer programs and services in Welland. Adding this location will reduce transportation barriers to families in Welland and all of South Niagara. Christ Community Church has offered Autism Ontario Niagara Chapter the lower level of their location to provide a program space and a much-needed sensory program room.
How will this sensory room impact the community? Currently there is no sensory room available within the Welland and South Niagara Region. This new sensory room will provide a local program opportunity for families with children, youth and adults with autism, service and respite workers, other social service workers and their clients with eyesight, hearing and behavioural challenges. Individuals benefit from sensory room-controlled sound, lighting, touch, and temperature. This helps them better cope with the world around them by creating a safe environment. Benefits of a sensory room include improve focus, develop reactivate senses, encourage socialization, promote cognitive development, and improve motor development.
The current COVID 19 pandemic had a huge impact on our sensory room development. Our project was very behind on meeting our deadlines. There have been several reasons for this delay including our office being shut down due to COVID 19, the church where the sensory room will be located is still shut down due to COVID 19, all companies that we were dealing with shut down production of our equipment as well as the professionals coming into the building to prepare the room being shut down or limited services during this pandemic. Although the preparation and install of the sensory room is complete, it is with a heavy heart that our sensory room projected opening will still need to be delayed due to health and safety concerns and guidelines for a high touch program such as the sensory room during this pandemic. We are following all safety precautions and will open the sensory room as soon as it is safe to do so.