SOVEREIGN Hill will turn its iconic outdoor museum into a special sensory experience, hosting a range of activities that are specifically designed for people with autism and their families for Autism Friendly Day.

Special sensory friendly activities have been planned to enable people on the Autism Spectrum to enjoy their day with families, including shortened mine tours that will minimise loud noises and time spent in the dark, an opportunity to meet a trooper who will explain all about his costume and job at Sovereign Hill, and craft activities for a little quiet time.

People with Autism Spectrum Disorders interpret things literally and often find daily life confusing and exhausting. Imagine then the stress that someone with Autism would experience upon entering Sovereign Hill, a replica of an 1850’s Victorian town, where nothing is like the world they live in.

Typically people on the Autism Spectrum can be stressed by noises, new environments, and smells, all of which are experienced at Sovereign Hill, from the hustle and bustle of the horses, to the shouting of our Red Coat soldiers. We wanted to create some experiences that would allow them to experience what Sovereign Hill has to offer, without some of those stressful triggers,” says Janelle Spierings, Education Officer at Sovereign Hill. To alleviate some of these stresses Sovereign Hill will enable visitors to avoid the crowded entrance and enter from 10am – 11.30am on Saturday March 28 2015 via the side gate. Visitors will receive wrist-bands where parents can write contact details, and there will also be places to go for a quiet break.

Sovereign Hill Education has also written a series of ‘Social Stories’ that have been developed to assist visitors on the Autism Spectrum to become more familiar and comfortable with Sovereign Hill before they visit, whether for Autism Friendly Day, or any day of the year.