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Royal Adelaide Show tips for neurodivergent showgoers

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Royal Adelaide Show tips for neurodivergent showgoers

With large crowds and so much to do and see at the Royal Adelaide Show, attending the event can seem overwhelming and challenging for some families with neurodivergent people.  

To help everyone have a great experience at the Show, Lutheran Care is sharing some tips from our Elcies Disability Care and Families and Relationships teams, which may assist families with planning their day.  

Bianca Dubois is Principal Clinical Lead – Specialist Services for Elcies Disability Care. Her top tips for families and people with neurodiversity, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are:  

  • Have a general plan for your day and spend some time discussing what that is with your family before you arrive. This could sound like ‘first we will ride three rides, then we will have some lunch, then we will go to buy our show bags’. 
  • Plan to include some quiet time and space to relax away from the hustle and bustle. This could be by bringing noise cancellation headphones, earplugs or devices. You can also move to the southern end of the Showgrounds, particularly the livestock areas, as these tend to be quieter.
  • Have a backup plan in case important plans don’t work out. This could sound like ‘I know you really want the Pokémon showbag, that’s your first choice. I would like you to have a second choice in case we can’t get that one. How about the Spiderman showbag’?
  • Take into consideration times that are more sensory friendly. The mornings at the Show are generally quieter compared to the lunchtime-afternoon period.
  • Take advantage of the armbands handed out at the ticket box. Here you can add a name, phone number and any important information in case anyone is separated from your group.  
  • Agree on a designated meeting spot that is easy to find, such as the Ferris wheel, in case anyone is separated from your group.
  • Stake out a quiet spot that you can retreat to if things get too noisy and busy. This could be the lawn area or a quieter pavilion for some shelter.  

Kerry MacGrath, Lutheran Care Operations Manager – Family and Relationships, also encourages families to be prepared and plan their day at the Show to avoid sensory overload. Her top tips are:  

  • Plan breaks, meals, snacks and things to take. You could do this by creating a social story or making a list. Be sure to have the whole family involved. It might include how you will get there, where you will park and what time you will be leaving.
  • Don’t try and fit everything in! It’s a busy day and one you want to enjoy. What is at least one thing each person attending wants to do or see?
  • Have your children research the showbags ahead of time if they are allowed to get one. This may reduce any anxiety of having to make a decision in the busy showbag hall.
  • Remember you know yourself and your family best. What will work for one family, might look different for another.  

If you would like more sensory information about the Royal Adelaide Show, including answers to questions about smells, queues and loud noises, visit the Show’s website. 

You can also find detailed information about accessibility, including car parking, wheelchair viewing areas and other facilities for people with a disability. 

Find out more about our Elcies Disability Care service here.