(UK) Stoke parents of autistic boy open "sensory room for children with additional needs"

Mar 7, 2020, Stoke Sentinel: 'It's a place children can go when things get too much' - Play centre opens space-themed sensory room for children with additional needs
Children who can become overwhelmed by loud noise and crowds will now be able to enjoy some 'chill out time' after a play centre opened a dedicated sensory room. Castaway Play, in Congleton Garden Centre, has opened Anais' Space Sensory room following a six-week renovation. The attraction features tactile surfaces, a ball pit, fidget toys and a fish tank, and is available for children aged three and under or children with additional needs of any age. Husband and wife Simon and Jo Cottrell opened the centre last year and were inspired to create the sensory room as their son Ben has autism and their niece Anais has cerebral palsy. Jo, aged 36, from Congleton, said: "Since Castaway opened in March 2019 we made our inclusive play promise that our play centre would be a destination for all children to enjoy. "Our niece Anais was born two years ago with cerebral palsy our son Ben has autism, so our focus was to create inclusive play, making everything accessible for all children. "Whether that is for children with a physical disability or children with autism. We wanted the sensory room to be a feast for the senses and a place where children can go at busy times to get a break when things become too much. "It's space themed and we've named it after Anais. Children are able to see the artwork in there and feel the different objects. It looks really good, it also has a fish tank, a sensory peanut ball and fidget toys which are really good for children with autism. "It just helps the children to chill by feeling different textures and it's very quiet in there. I can relate to parents who have children who don't cope well in crowds as my own son Ben will just take himself off when things get too much and he loves the sensory room. "So when a parent thinks it's getting too much for their child they can go to the sensory room. It is perfect for children under three and for children with additional needs of any age.