The McDonald’s branch at the Malta International Airport in Luqa has become the first Maltese restaurant to set up an accredited autism-friendly room.
Complete with noise-cancelling headphones and sensory toys, the quiet space has been specifically designed to be inclusive to people with autism.
The room includes two tables and several chairs, with its environment, including the light and noise levels, designed in consultation with Prisms Malta and the Autism Parent’s Association.
It is accessible to all customers but McDonald’s has pledged to prioritise people with sensory difficulties and to ask people who disrespect the scope and spirit of the room to move to the lobby.
The fast food joint is taking things further by operating Autism Friendly hours every Monday and Thursday between 3pm and 4:30pm, during which the entire restaurant will have dimmer lights and lower noise levels. Staff are also being trained on how to understand autism, following which they will wear badges certifying them as ‘Autism Ambassadors’.
“We are very proud to be the first restaurant in Malta to be accredited as Autism Friendly and we look forward to welcoming you and provide you with your feel-good McDonald’s experience,” the establishment said.
Inclusion Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli, who was invited to the launch of the quiet room, praised McDonald’s and expressed her hope that the initiative will serve as a model for other restaurants.
“We commend the restaurant for taking such an active role in our community because it is also in line with the government’s ongoing efforts to ensure that the disability sector remains firmly grounded in the values of inclusiveness and equality,” she said.
Do you think other restaurants should follow suit?