We attended Sportykidz Southside Sat 9th July 2011 and it was awful. Our child is on the spectrum for autism and exhibited autisic behaviours at the soft play. The staff were unhelpful, rude and very ignorant of this social disability. Similarly, parents who attend were also ignorant and staff 'joined in' with them to collectively condem our child rather than give us the opportunity to deal with the problem appropriately. The soft play was too small and badly designed to be able to see children well and remove them quickly if there was any bad behaviour going on. As a side note, when my godson entered (for his party that his parents had paid for), the owner asked him (a four year old) if he was comfortable with this sexuality due to him wearing a t shirt with a few sparkles on it. All in, it was a very negative experience and I could not recommend this facility to any parent.
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Company response : Hi Alison
I'm very sorry to hear that you had a unhappy trip to Sporty Kids. Let me start by saying that we in no way discriminate against children with any sort of additional needs and try as far as possible to accommodate. I have spoken to the staff on duty that day and they said that they had to keep intervening because your child was hitting other children. This is a difficult situation for both parties as your child was obviously distressed by the level of noise etc in the softplay and lashed out as a result. On the other hand we have a duty to protect all children in our softplay and thus have to try and control the situation. We have been trying for a while to set up an evening session for children with additional needs where it would not be so busy and where other parents/carers were more aware of your son and other's needs. We'd be more than happy to discuss such a session with you if you were interested and knew of any other parents in a similar situation. One of my very close friends has a son with autism and has said she would welcome such an opportunity (unfortunately she doesn't live nearby). Finally I have spoken to Ian, one of the owners, about what he said to your godson and can I just say that he was really upset that his comments were takent the wrong way. He was being chatty to the parents and in no way meant to be offensive - his son had the same tshirt which was the reason he brought it up. He apologises profusely if anyone was hurt by his comments. Kind regards, Sarah Booth