Tips for creating a Quiet Room
What is a Quiet Room?
A Quiet Room is a room set aside to be a place for recovery, management of health conditions, and calm.
They are important because they can help enable the full participation of all attendees at an event such as a conference or AGM, regardless of disability, neurology, or health condition.
Who uses Quiet Rooms?
Anyone can use a Quiet Room although they are most used by those with anxiety, chronic illnesses, and conditions which affect comfort/wellbeing while in loud, busy spaces, such as autism.
What are the features of a good Quiet Room?
Quiet rooms should be:
- Well advertised and sign-posted before and during the event
- Fully physically accessible
- Have comfortable (preferably adjustable) lighting
- In a quiet area with few disruptions or loud noises
- Open and accessible for the entirety of the event
- Well advertised to the event attendees
Quiet Rooms should also contain materials and activities to the benefit of those who use the quiet room, such as:
- Comfortable seating
- Mental distractions/fidget tools such as Rubik’s cubes – for those with Autism Spectrum conditions to use as “stims”
- Calming activities such as colouring books or puzzles
- Ear plugs
- Leaflets from health charities with information such as how to cope with a panic attack or social anxiety (these can be ordered for free online from Mind and Rethink Mental Illness)
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CREATING A QUIET ROOM:
Inclusion tips from Changing Tide Training
Provide comfortable seating such as soft chairs with armrests. This can help people with disabilities like chronic pain conditions manage their symptoms and feel more prepared to engage with the rest of the event.
DISTRACTION ACTIVITIES & “STIMS”
Some people with disabilities, mental health problems, or autism spectrum conditions can find events and networking overwhelming and stressful. Provide calming resources like adult colouring books or puzzles, and items such as fidget spinners which can be used to combat sensory overloads and anxiety.
Some people, including those with chronic illnesses, can experience hypersensitivity to sound and other stimuli. This can cause pain, impairing concentration and ability to participate fully. Provide earplugs or face masks so that people can give themselves a break if they need one.
For management of blood sugar and energy levels, provide sweets and drinks such as coffee, tea, and water. Be aware of allergies and dietary needs.
Charities such as Mind and Rethink Mental Illness produce resources which can help guide someone through a panic attack. These are free to download and always good to keep on hand.
If in doubt, just ask attendees what would be helpful for them. You may find nobody uses the quiet room, but some attendees will feel better just knowing that it’s there.
Changing Tide Training provides workshops, speakers, consultation, and policy auditing to help your organisation improve inclusivity.