Category Archives: Autism

Celebrating the festive season with a person with autism.

Tips to manage autism at christmasThe festive season can be an opportunity for fun and good cheer as we change our environment and behaviour. However, for some people with autism the change of environment can also be overwhelming and stressful. Here are my top ten tips for a multi-sensory Christmas.

  1. Start slowly and gradually – don’t introduce all the decorations at once. This can make the environment feel unfamiliar and increase a sense of disorientation.
  2. Be flexible – Don’t plan too much as you may need to adapt as you go along.
  3. Encourage the person with autism to take part in putting up decorations – they may not do it quite like you planned but doing a job and seeing it through can give them a great sense of achievement.
  4. The Christmas calendar – create a Christmas calendar which details when things are going to happen, at what time and when they will finish.
  5. Getting out and about – going to see the Christmas lights can be overwhelming because of the noise and other people around you. Try viewing the lights from a car or bus where you have your own space and can control the noise level.
  6. Party games – if you are going to a party perhaps practice the games that will be played before hand to help the person with autism prepare
  7. Being part of Christmas – if unfamiliar people are visiting explain who these people are and provide a photo. For your visitors, give them ideas of what they can talk about with the person with autism.
  8. Quiet space – create spaces and opportunities for the person with autism to withdraw to if the party is getting too noisy.
  9. A multi-sensory Christmas – Christmas is an opportunity to great an multi-sensory atmosphere. We focus a lot on lights but what about the smell of cloves and cinnamon, carols with a slow tempo, textures of making holly wreaths, baking mince pies.
  10. Make sure you have some quiet time too – put on some favourite music, dim the lights and have a good multi-sensory holiday.

Purple Tuesday – The UK’s Accessible Shopping Day

For people with hidden disabilities a shopping trip can be an overwhelming ordeal as loud noises, bright lights, crowds and unusual smells flood the senses. This experience can leave an autistic child (for example) feeling very agitated and unhappy, making the shopping trip impossible for both them and their parent or carer. This is one of the many reasons why the disability organisation Purple, with endorsement from the Department for Work and Pensions have introduced Purple Tuesday.

Taking place on Tuesday 13th November 2018, Purple Tuesday is the UK’s first accessible shopping day. On this day major retailers and shopping centres are expected to promote accessible shopping by making one long term commitment which makes their venue more inclusive and improves the shopping experience for disabled customers. This could mean installing a sensory room where people with hidden disabilities can go to for some quiet time after or during the shopping trip or introducing a quiet hour.

Making Shopping Inclusive is big business

  • The purple pound is worth £249 billion to the UK economy
  • Autism affects 1 in 100 That’s over 700,000 people in the UK which means that
  • Approximately 2.8m people have a relative on the Autism Spectrum.
  • More than 11 million people in the UK are considered disabled

Rompa proudly supports Purple Tuesday and similar initiatives

Rompa have worked with many businesses in the retail sector that have taken the initiative to make their venues more inclusive. For example, Meadowhall Shopping centre asked us to provide a pop-up sensory room in aid of Autism Awareness Week. The feedback from this was so positive that a permanent sensory room has now made an addition to their facilities as well as a Rompa corner kit being installed into the baby changing area.

Here at Rompa we provide a variety of products for not only shopping centres to consider for Purple Tuesday but for parents and carers alike during their shopping trip. 

Take a look at our tactile range of products:

Emergency Services Event

Children Enjoying the Sensory Bus

Our friends at Sparkle Sheffield invited us along to their Emergency Services Event at the Lifewise Centre  on Sunday and we had a brilliant time!

What was the Emergency Services Event?

For people with autism, the emergency services can be scary and resemble bad experiences. This could lead to them not approaching  police officers or fireman for help which could lead to dangerous situations . The Emergency Services event was organised by Sparkle to build bridges between the emergency services and people who have autism. We’re pleased to say it was a massive success! The children were dressing up as police officers, being shown around a police car and fire engine (and trying out the sirens!), exploring the fantastic set of the Lifewise centre and of course enjoying the sensory bus!

Who are Sparkle Sheffield?

Started by parents of autistic children, Sparkle Sheffield exists to help families with autistic children meet the challenges they face, feel less isolated, less frightened and more empowered. Autism affects families in different ways but only the parent of an autistic child can truly understand what life is like for us.

Find out More on their website:


Congratulations to Research Autism’s Geoffrey Maddrell

mandrellCongratulations to Geoffrey Maddrell who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June for services to business and charity. The Queen’s Birthday Honours List recognises the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people from across the UK.

Geoffrey has been active and passionate in his commitment to making Research Autism a success, working tirelessly towards achieving a better quality of life for people with autism and their families. Indeed, Geoffrey has clocked up many hundreds of miles running marathons and half marathons for the charity, raising tens of thousands of pounds in the process!

Our Journey to an Autism Diagnosis

By – Tina Baily (Twitter @TheMotherGeek)

Tina & Sam

Tina and Sam

When our son was 18 months old, he still wasn’t walking, talking or responding to his name. He rocked – a lot, and bounced up and down for hours on end on his knees. I mentioned my Autism concerns to our health visitor, and we were referred to a paediatrician. Initially she said it was probably delayed development, but when he still wasn’t speaking or responding to his name at 22 Months, we began our journey towards an Autism diagnosis.

The months between our journey beginning and Sam receiving a diagnosis were really hard. I felt very lost, and overwhelmed by the whole experience. I felt like a fraud for asking about support as Sam hadn’t yet been diagnosed with anything. It was a very lonely time. I had no idea what to do to help Sam, and I was scared about what the future would bring.

As time went on, we saw more and more professionals, who gave us more and more advice. I tried to implement everything which was suggested, but eventually realised that I knew Sam best – some suggestions were none starters for him, it was as simple as that.

One thing which has always helped to get Sam to engage is shapes. Whether it be drawings, toys or iPad apps – if there was a shape involved, Sam would spend time exploring the item. I spent a lot of time doing shape puzzles with him, and this helped us to realise Sam’s potential. He is non verbal at the moment, but if you ask him to find the square, he will find it almost immediately. The same applies to most shapes, colours and numbers now. He spots shapes in places where I would never notice them.

I clung on to this, and stopped focussing on the things Sam wasn’t yet doing. By encouraging him to do the things he enjoys, Sam has developed other skills. His hand-eye co-ordination has come on massively, thanks to puzzles and iPad apps. Sam’s social interaction has improved hugely too, by playing alongside and then with him, while doing activities he loves – not necessarily the ones he will “learn” the most from.

If I had to give one piece of advice to a parent beginning their child’s autism diagnosis journey, it would be “ask what support is available locally”. I went to our local Autism family support group, and made some great friends. It was amazing not having to panic and explain Sam’s needs when he began shouting.

There is plenty of support online, too. I found the #AutismMum hashtag on Instagram and Twitter amazing for finding other UK based Autism parents. You can find me on Twitter at @TheMotherGeek, and you can read more about our autism journey at as well.

Thanks for reading.


Autism Awarness Offer 25% Off Our Sensory Corner Kit

Create your own Sensory Corner

Create your own Sensory Corner

A few simple components can create a real impact in a sensory corner. Bubble tubes, fibre optics, padded bases and wireless switches combine to produce an interactive and immersive experience.

NEW for 2016 – Snoezelen® Sensory Corner Kit

This kit includes some of the most popular elements of a Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Environment and has been designed to be installed easily (without the need of professional help). The Sensory Corner Kit is comprehensive and affordable.


The sensory corner kit includes:

The products can be enjoyed passively, as they will change colour in sequence, or interactively using the 8 Colour Wirefree Switch (included). You may wish to purchase Fish and Sea Creatures (21193), Bubble tube balls (15203 / 21799) or Cubes 21145 to another visually exciting element to your bubble tube.