This is Malaysia's first autism-friendly mall!

Bravo Sunway Putra Mall for being the first autism-friendly mall

By Huzraifah Atikah

Many of us may have heard the word autism, but never knew what it really meant.

Well, autism is actually a complex developmental disability which effects the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. 

According to The National Autism Society of Malaysia, children and adults with autism have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities. 

Generally, anyone with autism is highly sensitive and greatly troubled by certain sounds, touches, smells, or sights.

So, this disorder makes it really hard for them to relate to the outside world. 

Because of that, some of those with autism may behave aggressively from time to time and demonstrate some self-injurious behaviour as well.

That is why it is often difficult for a family to bring their autism child out to the mall as the child could experience a meltdown anytime, anywhere. 

On April 2018, the Centre for Disease Control revealed there approximately 300,000 people living with ASD in Malaysia.

The good news is that  Sunway Putra Mall has since taken the challenge to create the very first autism-friendly mall in the country. 

Bravo to Sunway Putra Mall’s team for putting in the effort to create a safe space for families with autism kids to hangout! 

Since last year, the mall had undergone minor renovations to create a special room for people with autism.

The new room is called ‘Calm Room’, and can be used in times of emergency when a child or adult with autism experiences a meltdown.

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.

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

Before going to the mall, parents can register for an ‘Autsome Welcome Kit’ online and collect it at the concierge counter at the lower ground.

Children who flash their 'Autsome' wristbands will get to enjoy special privileges at selected outlets. 

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

Colourful sensory walls have been put up on Levels 2 and 3 of the complex as well.