(BlackburnNews.com file photo by Maureen Revait)(BlackburnNews.com file photo by Maureen Revait)

Lakeshore offering public skates for sensory sensitive individuals

Lakeshore's Atlas Tube Recreation Centre is hosting sensory-friendly skating sessions starting in April.

Director of Events with the Belle River District Minor Hockey Association Shari Fallon came up with the idea based on her family experience.

“I have experienced inclusion gaps due to sensory processing challenges and ability to participate,” she says. “At a recent board meeting of the Belle River District Minor Hockey Association, there was a conversation about inclusion gaps and how as a hockey association we can help close those gaps.”

During the sensory-friendly skates, the lights will be dimmed and noise will be reduced. There will be fewer people in the rink and regular maintenance will be suspended during the skate.

“Skating rinks can be overwhelming places for people with sensory sensitivities because of the loud noises and bright lights. When Shari approached us with this idea, we were very excited to participate," said Frank Jeney, with Lakeshore Community Services. "We are always looking for ways to expand recreational opportunities in our community and Shari’s idea allows us to provide rink programming for people who may not have participated in the past.”

The first sensory-friendly skates are free of charge. Participants must pre-register by calling 519-727-0470. The skates are scheduled on Mondays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. from April 3 to May 29, and Fridays from April 21 to August 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday skates will continue on July 3 to August 14.

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