On World Autism Day (April 2, 2018), the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is announcing it has partnered with KultureCity to make the new attraction the first public aquarium in the world to become accredited for sensory inclusive considerations before opening to the public.
To gain certification, the staff of St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will be trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to appropriately handle a sensory overload situation.
“To meet our goal of making the new aquarium a great destination for everyone, we’ve taken several elements into consideration,” said Steve O’Loughlin, President of Lodging Hospitality Management, developers of the city’s first full-scale aquarium and owner of St. Louis Union Station. “Our team will receive extensive training on how to recognize sensory issues as they are developing, and the facility is currently being constructed with a purpose-built sensory room for individuals and families who may need a quieter and more secure environment. We also will have items available for guests who may feel overwhelmed in this stimulating environment. Some examples are noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads.”
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a public aquarium. With its new certification, the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will be better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities to ensure that they have the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible.
“The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will be the first aquarium in the process of being built that will be designed with sensory inclusion in mind. KultureCity is proud to work with the St Louis Aquarium to bring this amazing initiative to the state of Missouri,” said Dr. Julian Maha, Founder, KultureCity.