https://gogetfunding.com/ar-sensory-pod/ (a sensory/silent space
The initial concept arose from my experiences of attending conferences and exhibitions to deliver talks. A memorable example was The Autism Show at Excel London. A bright, open-plan, noisy, crowded, busy venue. I asked where the quiet room was located and was told to find the floor manager who would then give me a key. I could then try to locate the “quiet room” which was, in fact, just an empty room. Considering this is marketed as the national event for autism, I was flabbergasted!
When having a sensory meltdown it is impossible to process anything. Read the text below to gain a simplified idea.
It is impossible to find someone, particularly a stranger, in order to obtain a key. It is impossible to find a specific room in an open space. You are not aware of where you are. People are jostling, poking, shouting. The lights start flickering. The noise is overwhelming. Waves of sensory chaos crush you. Your fight/flight response goes into overdrive. You are no longer in control of your own place within that environment.
A similar thing happened at an outside charity music festival; there was simply nowhere close by to get some quiet time and to escape the over stimulating environment.
At the festival, it became obvious that this problem does not just affect autistics but many others. For example, those with anxiety or other mental health conditions and sensory difficulties, or for those who simply need a de-stressor from the high-tempo experience.
You need to remove yourself from the sensory overload. During a meltdown, your overwhelming need is to escape, whatever the cost. You may shout, you may scream, cry, or even lash out. There is no way to prevent this happening. There is no turning back.
But - by the time you have reached this point, it is pretty much ‘game over’ - the result for many would be a total shutdown; the fuse has tripped and you become a husk, a zombie, switched off.
The pod creates a vessel or space to reset or reboot. It will provide a safe environment to collect ones’ thoughts or simply to stop altogether to calm down and relax.
The idea was simple - if a venue has no such space why not create a portable space, one which can be incorporated anywhere.
A sleek, ovoid pod, with an outward-opening door and small wheels to allow easy repositioning and transportation.
It is essential that the occupant feels secure within the space and can easily access and exit unaided.
Distractions such as flickering lights or those that hum cause negative sensory effects. The pod is a respite from this, with LED changeable lighting-the occupant needs to be able to have control over their lighting environment.
Extensive research into autism and those with sensory processing issues suggest that lighting is essential to well-being. Blue lighting can aid calmness and clarity, red is energizing, green is balancing and creates a sense of harmony, yellow aids positivity, whilst violet can enhance inspiration.
We all react very differently when it comes to how we process our auditory environment. Some need absolute silence whilst others find it uncomfortable –therefore the pod has headphones with a choice of calming music or sounds which include nature sounds and white noise.
Some form of air conditioning or airflow is essential for the welfare and comfort of those inside the Pod
A semi-reclined padded seat (similar to a gaming chair) with a washable cover is easy to clean and maintain. The reclined position also allows the pod to be situated closer to the ground.
Public and privates spaces-hospitals Airports/train stations,schools,universities etc libraries,exhibitions ,conferences, and festivals/events