Abu Dhabi airport opens sensory rooms for children in need of support

Rooms or pods were developed to calm people with autism in busy areas

The pods at Abu Dhabi airport are similar to these devices in Al Jimi Mall in Al Ain. Photo: Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination

Abu Dhabi airport has introduced two sensory devices designed to help relax children who have conditions such as autism.

The airport and Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination opened the pod-style rooms in the play areas in terminals one and three.

They incorporate educational, recreational and therapeutic techniques, through an integrated set of sensory experiences for children in an environment that helps them to relax, focus and learn. Sensory rooms are a modern relaxation method used as part of treatment and early intervention programmes for children with autism.

Abdullah Al Humaidan, secretary general of ZHO, said the goal is to better "integrate people of determination in the community" and to further social inclusion.

The sensory rooms provide calming facilities in crowded public spaces, enabling people to regulate negative brain reactions to external stimuli by providing a quiet haven and helping children to develop coping skills.

ZHO has already installed a pod in Al Jimi Mall in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall. There are plans to have six in the emirate.

Sana Mohammed Suhail, director general of Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, said: “We are dedicated to supporting the comprehensive development of the child, with a focus on empowering and enhancing the well-being of children of determination. Ensuring health, well-being and living standards of children and facilitating their social inclusion is at the heart of what we do.”

Updated: December 31st 2021, 6:44 PM