Whitehorse City Council

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Enjoy inclusive birthday parties at Aqualink

22 Feb 2018

Council has released a new series of stories to provide children with an understanding of what happens at a birthday party at Aqualink.

Whitehorse Councillor Ben Stennett said most children associate parties with fun and excitement but for some children, particularly children with disability, they can be a source of stress and anxiety.

“The social stories from Aqualink are short descriptions of real life situations that families can read to children. In this case the story is about birthday parties, including the activities and equipment used,” Cr Stennett said.

“Aqualink Nunawading and Aqualink Box Hill want to ensure every child celebrating their birthday or attending a friend’s party has the opportunity to have a wonderful experience.”

From the initial booking process through to the party, Aqualink Nunawading and Aqualink Box Hill will work with families to design a party that suits the birthday child’s individual needs. Social stories are part of preparing children and their families for the party experience.

“Aqualink staff members understand that structure is important for some children so will provide encouragement and clear instructions and allow ample time between activities. The social stories outline what takes place during a party and explains the various activities such as the inflatables and Tarzan rope,” Cr Stennett said.

To help reduce any feelings of stress and anxiety, tours can be arranged prior to the party so that the child can visit the centre prior to the party and familiarise themselves with the centre and meet some of our staff members.

Families can either buy food from the café or bring their own. Aqualink provides a bright table cloth with balloons, but families are more than welcome to add their own decorations in a theme that fits with their child’s passions and interests.

If the party or the pool environment is too busy, noisy or creating s anxiety on the day, parents are more than welcome to make use of the beautiful outdoor grassed area, where they can sit down and relax.
The social stories can be downloaded from the Aqualink website www.aqualink.com.au

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