A new sensory room to delight young children has opened at the Early Start Discovery Space and is safe for those on the autism spectrum.
The Sanctuary will be a safe space for all visitors to engage in sensory play and includes activities to stimulate touch, movement, balance, sight, smell and hearing.
Matt Ball's grandson Ari Robinson was roadtesting the newly formed room on Tuesday, which Mr Ball said was great to encourage any child to explore.
"In a normal house environment there's lots of things you cannot do but here it's about exploring and testing the boundaries on anything and everything," Mr Ball told the Mercury.
Items in The Sanctuary include lights, mirrors, tactile objects, cushions, a sling swing, bubble tubes, light tables, weaving wall, optic curtain, sensory den, weighted blankets and a memory foam mat.
Early Start education and experiences manager Martha Johnson said children use their senses to make sense of the world around them.
"Sensory play leads to a child's ability to complete more complex tasks, supporting cognitive growth, language development, gross motor skills, social interactions and problem solving skills," said Ms Johnson.
"Providing children with opportunity to actively use their senses is crucial to brain development as it helps build nerve connections in the brain pathways, which helps with the greater development of the child."
She said it also encourages kids to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.
Early Start will also run workshops for parents, educators and therapists on a play-based intervention, specifically designed for young children with autism called the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM).
The model focuses on play and routines, and integrates both behavioural and developmental principles to empower children on the autism spectrum to become active participants in the world around them.
"Research has found that ESDM can significantly improve cognitive skills and behaviours of children with autism," ESDM Trainer Elizabeth Aylward said.
"It is a naturalistic intervention underpinned by play-based learning, the development of secure and reciprocal relationships, and the promotion of communication. By following a child interests and choices, it also optimises motivation."
The Discovery Space is launching an inclusive approach to all children on World Autism Day (Friday April 2) because of its capacity to provide multiple opportunities for all children to learn from their peers.