To celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, we are taking a look at the Cubbie Sensory Hub in CHI at Temple Street. This is a new, imaginative environment for people with autism and related conditions. Made possible with the help of you – our amazing supporters – the Cubbie Sensory Hub was created after David and Diane McIntyre’s daughter Ava was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. David remembers the early inspiration for the idea: “We met other parents and started to hear about the barriers they faced. It was at these meetings that we decided to try and help people with Autism.” David and Diane embarked on years of research and came up with the Cubbie concept, a sensory system that promotes participation and inclusion to all people with sensory processing needs. They demonstrated the cubbie to Temple Street for World Autism Day in 2018.
As Orla Heaney, Autism Nurse Specialist recalls: The Cubbie Sensory Hub is used in CHI at Temple Street OPD Department. It is a quiet space that children and families can access. It is open to all children and families. It is a space that is especially helpful for Autistic children and indeed any child with sensory processing differences. It offers a blank space where the child can choose lighting, auditory and visual input. The chid and parent can step out of the OPD department and into the Cubbie while waiting for appointments. In this way as an environmental modification it supports sensory regulation and can reduces distress for children who may be likely to experience sensory overload in the hospital environment.
Recently I used the Cubbie with a child who was attending the Emergency Department and who was distressed. It was a very helpful resource for this family. The Cubbie has also been accessed by inpatients who are finding the hospital environment challenging and struggling with emotional regulation. It offers a different space away from the ward environment to take some time away and relax and calm. I have found it an invaluable resources since its installation and am currently working on a child and family evaluation in relation to its impact.”