Canada Got Its First Autism-Friendly Hotel

April 7, 2017
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The first autism-friendly hotel has just been established in Canada.

Travel may not always feel like a vacation for parents of kids with Autism. All the new sounds, sights, textures and experiences may be overwhelming to children who are extra-sensitive to their surroundings.

Children with Autism are happiest in their own routine and this is why Cathy Lomond, the owner of Hotel Port aux Basques, has worked so hard with advocacy group Autism Involves Me (AIM) to make guests with autism feel at home.

The hotel staff members have undergone training, in order to recognize and understand better how to respond guests on the Autism spectrum. They have been trained to understand their guests who may have communication challenges or special dietary needs and preferences.

The hotel has a play lounge and sanctuary with a plush playboat inside—ideal for kids with sensory sensitivities. There is also a soothing seaside mural complete with local birds, butterflies and whales. There’s a climbing wall and a cocoon-like padded hammock which is perfect for quiet time.

A great deal of thought has gone into safety in the designated family-sized guest rooms. Children with autism have a tendency to roam, so high door chains have been added to the doors to give parents peace of mind.

Frames and smaller objects are secured and the coffee makers out of reach in drawers with child locks. Nothing in the rooms can be thrown or moved, if a child becomes overwhelmed.

These little changes put the R+R into travel for both children with autism and their families.

What a thoughtful initiative!

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