Inclusion NL and the Mount Pearl partner to ensure inclusion at events.
Festivals are made of loud noises, flashing lights and large crowds, but that can trigger those with anxiety or autism.
Mount Pearl’s Frosty Festival is partnering with Inclusion NL for the third year in a row to make the events accessible to all members of the community.
Feb. 5 marked the beginning of the Frosty Festival with the Pedestrian Parade of Lights and the lighting of the cauldron.
Inclusion NL was there with a bus to allow those with physical disabilities to attend and participate.
Kathy Hawkins is the manager at Inclusion NL.
“We offer a number of different accessibility features”, said Hawkins.
They offer accessibility guides, accessible viewing areas, documentation in accessible forms and on-site volunteers for support.
This is the first year having accessibility features at all the events.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Hawkins. “The first year we just provided supports for quarry events, the second year we increased and this year we are providing supports to all the events.”
Angela Lacey, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and has a child with autism, said it can be very difficult to find events in the city that accommodate her family.
“For many years there wasn’t really anything,” Lacey said. “Mostly there was the movie theaters and that only had sensory screenings the last few years to my knowledge.”
Lacey’s son Daniel has heightened senses, meaning sounds, textures, and certain smells can trigger him.
“We were recently at a restaurant, myself and Daniel, and something that someone was wearing was upsetting him,” said Lacey. “I couldn’t smell anything but for him it was repulsive.”
Lacey was involved in the downtown St. John’s Christmas parade which included a sensory friendly zone. The process has been slow, but Lacey said that she believes events in St.John’s and the surrounding areas are headed in the right direction.
“Though there is a lot more that can be done, it’s definitely headed in the right direction”