Noise-sensitive people will be able to enjoy fireworks and other loud community events in the Bundaberg Region thanks to 12-year-old Summer Farrelly and her campaign for sensory-friendly awareness.
Summer, who runs Chickens To Love Therapeutic Chickens, has saved up her own money to buy headphones for event-goers to use throughout the region.
“I saved up some money and purchased 24 industrial noise cancelling headphones for members of the community to borrow and return at events,” she said.
“There are so many ways you can problem solve situations to make our community events more inclusive for everyone.
“I realise this will not work for everyone, but you have to start somewhere.”
Summer said she identified the issue after hearing from families in the community about their troubles with noise-sensitive people attending events.
“I've heard families would love to attend fireworks events but haven't been able to because the noise is too overwhelming for a member of the family,” she said.
Businesses on board
After Summer posted about her endeavours on Facebook, it was soon noticed by many people within the Bundaberg Region and beyond.
“Tony from Vulcan Fireworks, one of the The Lighthouse Festival sponsors, saw my post and has donated a further 24 industrial noise-cancelling headphones so families can enjoy this year's Lighthouse Festival Fireworks,” Summer said.
“Thank you Tony you are a legend!”
Tony said he was moved after reading Summer's Facebook post and wanted to do something to help her cause.
“I was looking at Facebook last night and I saw what Summer posted and just thought, wow,” he said.
“It just broke my heart; we never really think of things like that when we are doing fireworks.
“This is a fantastic way for fireworks and music to be enjoyed by everyone and I thank Summer for teaching us this!”
Tony bought 24 headphones and said they would be available for people to use for free at The Lighthouse Festival.
“We were so touched by what Summer has done that we have invited her to be the button pusher for the fireworks at the event,” he said.
Summer said she was over the moon with the generous donation from Tony.
“Wow, how amazing is this!” she said.
“I can't wait to use the headphones at this year's The Lighthouse Festival.”
The Lighthouse Festival will be held on October 26 at Burnett Heads.
According to the UK National Autistic Society, many people on the autism spectrum have difficulty processing everyday sensory information.
- May only hear sounds in one ear, the other ear having only partial hearing or none at all.
- May not acknowledge particular sounds.
- Might enjoy crowded, noisy places or bang doors and objects.
You could help noise-sensitive people by using visual supports to back up verbal information, and ensuring that other people are aware of the under-sensitivity so that they can communicate effectively.
You could ensure that the experiences they enjoy are included in their daily timetable, to ensure this sensory need is met.
- Noise can be magnified and sounds become distorted and muddled.
- May be able to hear conversations in the distance.
- Inability to cut out sounds – notably background noise, leading to difficulties concentrating.
YOU COULD HELP BY:
- Shutting doors and windows to reduce external sounds
- Preparing the person before going to noisy or crowded places
- Providing ear plugs and music to listen to
- Creating a screened workstation in the classroom or office, positioning the person away from doors and windows.