Local Armagh boy Oisín Traynor and his family recently experienced an ‘out of this world’ trip to Armagh Observatory & Planetarium, making the most of its brand-new facilities, inclusive areas, sensory room and VIP access to enjoy its latest additions.
Three-year-old Oisín has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, among other conditions that impact his muscle control, balance and coordination, so simple things such as sitting without support are extremely difficult. He relies on his specialist buggy for mobility and therefore family days out are often planned in advance and sometimes Oisín is unable to participate in some activities due to lack of access.
Seanin Traynor, Oisín’s mum said that that the accessibility and facilities make a massive difference. “The Planetarium is completely accessible and inclusive for everyone and it’s literally on my doorstep. There is plenty of space for prams and wheelchairs to get about – they have thought of everything. The sensory room is a fantastic new addition and Oisín loved how interactive it was.
“The most amazing bit that made such a difference to our trip was the fully fitted changing area. Regular facilities often make our days out more challenging. Also, Oisín was able to participate in all aspects; he wasn’t left on the side lines. He was fully immersed in all the activities and the staff were such a great help. We loved the trip so much that we went back two days later!”
The brand-new changing places, funded by the Department for Communities, offer a state of the art safe and inclusive area with a hoist, remote controlled changing table, a shower and a remote-controlled toilet. The walls have a calming space themed image to create a comforting experience.
Sinead Mackle, Education and Outreach Manager at Armagh Observatory & Planetarium said: “We are delighted with the new facilities that offer a more inclusive experience. Oisín is an inspirational young boy, and we are so glad he had such a great time with his family. We want to be as accessible as possible. Previously, the changing space was an office that we converted and put to better use. We want to welcome our community or people visiting in the area to make use the changing places, free of charge. Our new sensory room also creates a safe space for children to inspire their imagination and creativity.”
To find out more about the facilities, upcoming dome shows and opening times, visit armagh.space.