Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre (BALC) will be trialling sensory quiet times across the centre in 2020.

Sensory quiet periods are designed to reduce anxiety and sensory stress for patrons who would benefit from a quieter and less stimulating environment in the Centre.

Across the Centre, lights will be dimmed, the radio will be turned down, and background noise will be reduced where possible during the sensory quiet times. Gymnastics and Aquatic Education programs designed for patrons who would benefit from sensory quiet periods will also be trialled during these times, enabling access to both recreational gymnastics and aquatics classes.

The sensory quiet times have been developed with feedback from and in consultation with members and users of the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre, as well as the Central Highlands NDIS Local Area Coordination Service, Sports Central and the Ballarat Autism Network.

“We are very excited to bring this initiative to our customers,” said BALC Centre Manager Michael Riseley. “Our team takes pride in the accessibility of the Centre and ensuring we’re always on the look out to keep improving the Centre and our programs to meet the needs of all members of the community.”

“We’ve been working closely with our key stakeholders to increase accessibility to the Centre for people who would benefit from sensory quiet times and making sure we have programs to increase their independence and confidence,” Mr Riseley said.

Programs will include Balance Play in the gymnastics hall for children aged 18 months to 5 years, and water playgroup Access Water Play for children aged 1 year to 5 years. Swimming lessons will also be available during sensory quiet time in the Centre.

“We know sensory friendly environments are essential to many people with an autism spectrum disorder and their families, and we’re delighted we can provide regular sensory quiet time slots for our patrons,” Mr Riseley said.

Sensory Quiet Time will run on the following days and times:
Saturdays: 7.30am–8.30am; Monday to Friday: 3pm–3.45pm; Tuesdays 2.15pm–3.45pm; Wednesdays: 8am–9.30am.