This Is What Malaysia's First Autism-Friendly Shopping Mall Looks Like

Every Tuesday has been declared as "Autism Friendly Shopping Day".

With just a few simple tweaks, Sunway Putra Mall is making public spaces in Malaysia more welcoming for children with autism

While a trip to the mall or the movies with family and friends are nothing to most people, it is a whole different ballgame for people with autism.

Autism is a complex neurobehavioural condition that affects one's social interaction, developmental language, communication skills, and is combined with rigid, repetitive behaviours, explained WebMD.

Basically, people with autism are highly sensitive and greatly troubled by certain sounds, touches, smells, or sights - sometimes to the point that it causes them pain.

Since late last year, the mall has undergone minor renovations to become the first autism-friendly shopping complex in Malaysia.

Part of the renovations included the transformation of a customer care room into a "Calm Room":

Before.

Image via Sunway Putra Mall

The room is fitted with dimmed lights and tools such as sensory toys, weighted blankets, essential oils, and bean bags to create a calming environment - which is especially useful in case of a meltdown.

After.

Image via Sunway Putra Mall

After.

Image via Sunway Putra Mall

Additionally, colourful sensory walls have been put up on Levels 2 and 3 of the complex

Level 3 (before).

Image via Sunway Putra Mall

Level 3 sensory wall.

Image via Sunway Putra Mall

Another sensory wall on Level 3.

Image via Sunway Putra Mall

According to Kloth Lifestyle Sdn Bhd, the walls are made out of unwanted fabrics and polyester that were donated to Kloth Cares.

Patrons who visit the mall on Tuesdays will find that the lights have been dimmed and the music turned down to make shopping more comfortable for people with autism

Image via Cyber-RT

Since the start of this year, Sunway Putra Mall declared every Tuesday, except public holidays, as 'Autism Friendly Shopping Day' between the hours of 10am to 5pm.

On these days, children who flash their 'Autsome' wristbands will get to enjoy special privileges at selected outlets, too

Image via Cyber-RT

Parents can register for an 'Autsome Welcome Kit' online and collect it at the Concierge Counter, Lower Ground.

With the wristband, children will enjoy discounts, freebies, an 'Priority Lanes' at autism-friendly outlets within the mall.

"We have started this project since Jan 8, and about 300 people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have registered with us," said Sunway Malls and Theme Parks chief executive officer Chan Hoi Choy, according to EdgeProp.

Parents, be sure to slap on the parking sticker on your car to enjoy reserved parking bays on the same days as well!

Before.

Image via Sunway Putra Mall

After.

Image via Sunway Putra Mall

If in need of assistance, there's also a helpline number to call: +603-2786 9333. Find out more information on Sunway Putra Mall's website.

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