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Porirua City Council has introduced peaceful, low-sensory pool sessions on Monday mornings and Thursday evenings at Arena Aquatics that will run during term-times.
During these low-sensory pool sessions the team at the Arena will dim the lights, shut off the wave machine and turn down the music to make the pool area as quiet and serene as possible.
"These sessions will help to make our pool more accessible to people who don’t do well in a high-sensory environment, especially for our tamariki who are on the autism spectrum and who get overwhelmed in a loud and bright environment," says Glenn Quintal, Manager Recreation Porirua.
Run in partnership with the Āhuru Mōwai Trust, the low sensory swimming sessions will be on Mondays from 11am to 12.30pm and on Thursday evenings from 7pm to 9pm.
These sessions will only run during term-times (which amounts to 40 weeks a year) and will not be available during school holidays.
Āhuru Mōwai trustee Paul Latham says the sessions are a fantastic opportunity for those families who have never had the confidence to try going to a public swimming pool to give it a go, or for those who have stopped going to get back into it.
"Providing a safe and accepting environment for families who have children with special and extra needs is what Āhuru Mōwai Trust is all about," he says.
"For many families, the background music, sirens and lighting can prove to be significant barriers to even making it inside the pool to give the swimming a go. To have these adjusted to provide a quieter environment during these times is awesome."
Mr Quintal says that everyone is welcome during these sessions, "but please be mindful during these low-sensory times to keep the volume low so that everybody can have fun in the water".
There will be balls and mats available inside the pool and the usual admission fees apply.
The Āhuru Mōwai Trust will be subsidising the family pass for those families who have children with extra special needs to $10 a session. Caregivers can enter for free, and no pool bookings will be accepted during these times.
12 Jul 2022