Malta’s first autism friendly accredited restaurant will have a special room to accommodate children and people with autism and other sensory areas.
The design of the room is a collaboration with Prisms Malta and the Autism Parents Association (APA). It features lighting, noise levels and a specific environment to help people with sensory senses experience the establishment to the fullest. The room is also equipped with noise-cancelling headphones and sensory toys.
McDonald’s Malta at Malta International Airport (MIA) inaugurated a Quiet Space, an initiative through which the restaurant has now dedicated room to accommodate children and people with autism and other sensory difficulties.
Minister for Inclusion, Voluntary Organisations and Consumer Rights Julia Farrugia Portelli expressed her satisfaction and defined this initiative as exemplary and a model for other restaurants which also wish to dedicate areas specific to people with autism.
“We commend the restaurant for taking such an active role in our community because it is also in line with the government’s ongoing efforts to ensure that the disability sector remains firmly grounded in the values of inclusiveness and equality,” said Minister Farrugia Portelli.
The minister also praised the restaurant for its increased participation in the community, especially considering the recently announced Volunteer Program which will see around 170 full-time employees commit to more than 3,500 hours to volunteering for Din Sweet Art, Soup Kitchen, and Ronald McDonald House of Charities.
The Managing Director of Premier Restaurants Malta Ltd, McDonald’s operators in Malta, Peter Hili said that McDonald’s has worked with Prisms and APA to make the restaurant at MIA a positive experience for people with autism. Mr Hili went on to say that McDonald’s Malta will have Autism Friendly hours every Monday and Thursday between 15:00 and 16:30, during which time the entire restaurant will have lower lighting and lower noise levels.
In addition to making its MIA restaurant more accessible, McDonald’s has also provided employees with specific training on understanding autism. Following this training, these employees are now certified as Autism Ambassadors. They will be wearing badges and will be available to customers for assistance and to provide more information.
This project was made possible by the collaboration of Prisms Malta, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability and the Autism Parents Association.
In Malta there are a total of nine establishments that are accredited as autism friendly. These establishments are Explora, Darmanin Gallery, Malta International Airport, the Malta National Aquarium, the National Museum of Archaeology, the National Museum of Natural History, ŻiguŻajg Festival, Eden Cinemas, and MZ Hairdressing & Education.
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