Phillip Island is planning to become the first tourist town in Australia to become ‘sensory inclusive’ with dozens of businesses being trained in identifying sensory overload that will make shops, attractions and restaurants a safe space for people suffering from conditions like autism, stroke, dementia and PTSD.
The island’s Nature Parks became the first nature experience in Australia to be officially certified as sensory inclusive last year and is taking the initiative to businesses and tourism operators around Phillip Island.
Specialised training is already being provided with the aim to train 50 businesses with suggestions such as dimming shop lights, turning down music or interactive displays and avoiding loud noises like grinding coffee machines.
The Penguin Parade, Churchill Island, Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies and the Koala Conservation Reserve are the first tourist attractions in Australia to be certified as sensory inclusive.
A ‘Sensory Night’ will be held at the Penguin Parade on April 30, with designated quiet areas and headphone zones and sensory bags available for hire filled with items such as noise cancelling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards for those who may experience sensory overload while visiting.
To assist guests prepare for their visit, a range of social stories and sensory features are available on the Nature Parks website: https://www.penguins.org.au/about/local-community/news/sensory-inclusive/.