Launch of sensory room for Assistance Dog Programme

08 Nov, 2022

Launch of sensory room for Assistance Dog Programme
  • Assessment Room supports families of children with autism

  • Supported by 5-year sponsorship by Avolon Aerospace Limited

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is delighted to announcement the opening of a dedicated Sensory Assessment Room in their Training Centre in Cork which will be used to support the families of children with autism who are awaiting an Assistance Dog.

The area, supported by a 5-year sponsorship by Avolon, features bespoke sensory equipment designed to fit with the differing needs of the children the charity works with.

The Sensory room is used during the initial interview assessment to determine if an Assistance Dog is the right fit for the child and their family. Through the availability of the Sensory room, the child and their family meet some of the dogs where they are encouraged to interact with the dogs at their own pace and comfort levels.

One area of the room is a safe, child friendly multi-sensory, activity space where children can play, bounce, touch sensory items and jump. This is preferred by children who like to regulate their overwhelming emotions through action touch and movement. 

The second area is a low sensory calm dark space where children can self-regulate and feel less overwhelmed while they hide and listen to their favourite calming music or video clips.

Tim O’Mahony, Chief Executive Officer at Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind explained how the assessment room is used; “We are so delighted to have this area available. It marks a further milestone in the development of our Assistance Dog Programme. Some families travel for over three hours for their assessment, so it is imperative that we are able to provide the children with a safe, welcoming environment that can cater for their unique needs, setting them up for success in our Assistance Dog Programme. This area will have a huge impact on so many families.”

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is hugely thankful to Emma Carroll and the whole team at Avolon who have been so supportive with this project and also with the sponsorship of Puppies in Training of Urso and Tango. Others who provided materials and support include:

View a before and after video of the room below.

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