ASD Friendly Sessions at Indiana Land 04 August 2021 Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council is delighted to offer customers a choice of Disability and Autism Friendly sessions over the summer months at both Dundonald International Ice Bowl and Lagan Valley LeisurePlex. Sessions run at Dundonald International Ice Bowl on the last Friday in the month from 5.45pm- 7.00pm with the next session scheduled for Friday 27 August 2021. Lagan Valley LeisurePlex sessions are held every Tuesday from 6.00pm-7.00pm in the Leisure Pool. Both sessions are open to customers with a disability or on the ASD spectrum. Families can participate in the sessions with their child to enable the whole family to enjoy quality time together in a quieter and controlled setting. Councillor Sharon Skillen, Chair of the Leisure & Community Development Committee said: “The Council endeavours, where feasible, to provide an inclusive service throughout all facilities so I am very pleased that we have been able to continue to offer ASD Friendly Sessions at both Dundonald International Ice Bowl and the Pan Disability & Autism Friendly Swimming sessions at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex. “Children on the Autistic Spectrum and their families have been greatly impacted by the pandemic so it is important to reintroduce these sessions to provide an outlet for families to enjoy fun, family time together. “The Indiana Land session is open to customers aged 10-14 years and their younger siblings and includes access to two floors of adventure through hidden tunnels, daring rope bridges and the famous freefall slide. The session also includes access to the newly refurbished sensory room in the play area to allow children to enjoy a break from their activity. “The Leisure Pool session includes access to all the slides, Lazy River and Aqualand Land interactive play area for an hour of endless fun. Floats, balls and rings are also added to the pool to promote further engagement opportunities for the whole family. “Both sessions are specifically aimed at customers with a disability or the ASD spectrum and run with reduced numbers to ensure activities offer the same level of fun in a quieter, more relaxed environment.” Claire Weston, mother of Teddy, commented, “We have been attending Dundonald International Ice Bowl since Teddy was about 4 years of age. Now aged ten, Teddy has a great relationship with the staff, everybody from reception, to the café and the activities. The staff are all well trained and wonderfully welcoming and understanding of Teddy’s needs; and always accommodating. It truly feels like a safe space. “The ASD Friendly Sessions in Indiana Land take place at a time that works well for families. We especially appreciate the provision for older Autistic children. The adjustments to the session are great. Music is turned down or off and the number of people in the session is less than usual. Staff also do a countdown as the end of the session approaches to allow the children time to prepare to leave. “Teddy particularly loves the sensory room. It's an amazing resource! It is calm and relaxing and a great use of space if she needs some time out from the main Indiana Land play areas. “I would encourage any family with an Autistic child or children to give one of the sessions a go.” Sessions are available to Buddy Card holders and can be booked online up to 7 days in advance at www.theicebowl.com or www.theleisureplex.com. For further information or to apply for a Buddy Card please contact Dundonald International Ice Bowl on 9080 9123 or 90 80 9129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.