‘The Reilly Room’ – Autism Sensory Room

Every family deserves a great holiday and BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort’s sensory room caters for children on the autism spectrum and their families by offering a special holiday retreat.

Named ‘The Reilly Room’, the facility features everything expected to be found in an autism specific educational setting and was carefully designed in conjunction and close consultation between BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort and volunteers from ‘The Reilly Room Project’.  The project was founded by Gail Watts, B.Ed (Hons), MLI (Disabs/Autism), Special Needs (autism) teacher and ex-holiday park worker.  Gail is the proud mother of Reilly, who had Asperger’s Syndrome and to whom the room is lovingly dedicated after sadly passing away in August 2018.

As a three generational family owned and operated resort, we believe every family deserves a great holiday and we are so pleased to provide our guests with a fully facilitated sensory room. BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort’s sensory room has all the features you would expect to find in an autism specific educational setting and we also provide guests who are planning to use the room with a special Social Script which you can download below, allowing the family to explain what their child can expect on their holiday.

We understand that children with autism can become very unsettled on holidays, away from the safety and comfort of their own home and belongings. Sometimes they travel for long hours in the car, through unfamiliar surroundings, unable move about and calm themselves.

Features in ‘The Reilly Room’ include a large free-standing hammock which can be used to rock a toddler or for a full-sized adult to rock themselves and is large enough to wrap around a child like a safe cocoon or ‘hidey hole’. There is also a large crash mat and weighted blankets/cushions for those particular children who are soothed by pressure. A lamp projects lovely blue ocean waves on the ceiling and a music player provides calming music to soothe the rawest of nerves. There is a collection of cushions providing a variety of tactile experiences, such as vibrating, fluffy and sequinned cushions. There is a ‘Bilbo’ to rock or spin a child in, a peanut-shaped gym ball to bounce on and a large timer clock to help them ‘finish’. The room also has a sensory toy box full of motivating toys to fascinate and calm children. Other activities include kinetic sand, play dough, colouring and drawing.

For guests who would like access to ‘The Reilly Room’ during their stay, it is accessible with a key which you may keep for the duration of your stay to use as needed. The facility is set up for use by one family at a time for the comfort and benefit of the user. An ‘occupied’ sign highlights when the room is being used so whoever is ‘settling’ will not be interrupted.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is the only BIG4 Holiday Park in Queensland and the fourth to launch in Australia, the others being BIG4 Renmark Riverfront Holiday Park, which was the pioneer of the program, as well as BIG4 Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park and BIG4 West Beach Parks Adelaide. All have worked with project founder, Gail Watts, in creating a dedicated sensory room, with expectations that the number of parks will grow over time.

SENSORY ROOM INFORMATION social script for your child - what to expect