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Friday, May 20, 2022

Sports Venues Create Quiet Refuge for Fans with Sensory Needs

Installed in time for a trial run on Opening Day, designers of what is called a “sensory nook” say the space was created for neurodivergent guests—those with autism or ADHD, for example—but is free for anyone like Burns who needs to step away from the action. It’s portable and features an overhead light that shines when the nook is powered on. A tactile board lights up with stars. And it can vibrate if needed for a calming effect.

“People really appreciate that it’s there,” said Eric Petersen, who is director of ticket services for the Mets and chairman of the team’s Accessibility and Disability Alliance. “They’re just grateful to have a space for their family member to go to in case they need to get away for a second.”

At times, people need just that. Consider a family that has tickets to a game and a child with autism or ADHD. After a long trip to the stadium or arena, parking, walking with the growing crowd filing in while waiting for the game to start, the noise inside can crescendo. A child might need a break. Without a quiet place, that family might turn around and go home. Instead, a sensory space can provide a place and some time to decompress.

I have no experience with this kind of thing but it seems like something that could make a real difference for a lot of families.

Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 20, 2022 at 10:26 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: medical, special needs

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   1. Cooper Teenoh Posted: May 20, 2022 at 01:20 PM (#6077647)
This is really encouraging progress to see. I have 2 adult autistic sons, and my few attempts to share the live baseball experience with them in the early 2000s were painful for all of us. I think these sorts of venue-level supports, paired with the tools individuals and their support systems already have for dealing with the world, could make a pleasant experience for individuals with atypical sensory needs.
My boys had much more fun at minor-league games, FWIW, as long as we got out of the parking lot before the postgame fireworks show!
   2. AndrewJ Posted: May 20, 2022 at 07:23 PM (#6077713)
A self-diagnosed person on the spectrum myself, I think this is a wonderful idea. I suspect even a certain percentage of neurotypicals would enjoy public facilities with reduced light and sound.

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