The journey through the airport can be stressful, causing families with hidden disabilities to avoid travel. To open the skies, Fun and Function has created a portable Sensory Pod, providing a calming oasis for travelers with special needs like autism. The octagonal Sensory Pods will be visible attractions at international airports in 2020, starting with the UK and the USA and eventually worldwide.
The micro-sensory room features soft furnishings, interactive panels and color-changing columns for soothing interaction. With a small footprint that fits most spaces, it can be moved using an electric trolley. This enables airports to deliver just-in-time stress reduction, whether it’s after security or before boarding. In addition, Fun and Function designs and equips sensory rooms in permanent spaces, accommodating travelers with physical as well as hidden disabilities.
“We believe that our different abilities are our greatest strength, and our Sensory Pod + Room help each person thrive,” says Aviva Weiss, CEO of Fun and Function, which designs products and environments for children and adults with challenges like autism, sensory processing issues and attention disorders. “An inclusive airport improves the experience for every traveler as well as personnel,” she adds.
To support airport staff, a team of therapists and educators at Fun and Function deliver training, demonstrating strategies that mitigate aggressive behaviors, emotional dysregulation or confusion.
To further improve the customer experience, airport personnel can distribute sensory toolkits on the spot, de-escalating tense situations. Tools range from noise-reduction headphones to playful fidgets and weighted lap pads.
“From the curb to the gate, we collaborate with you to make air travel an option for everyone,” says Hannah Lob, strategic partnership manager for Fun and Function.