Autistic Fans Now Have Sensory-Inclusive Room At Minnesota Vikings Stadium

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Everyone knows that football games are loud. Fans screaming, horns blowing, fireworks blasting, speakers booming, and bands performing. All the things that make football games so amazing. However, for people with sensory issues, like kids with autism, all those things can be a bit overwhelming.

Sensory-Inclusive Room

Thoughtfully, the Minnesota Vikings have taken this into consideration and have designed a 6-by-12 foot soundproof room that includes a sensory active wall display, sensory toys, sensory bags, bean bag chairs, and low lighting. It also comes equipped with two licensed behavioral specialists who are there to help at any moment.

“When we think about families with children with autism coming to a game, there’s barriers to re-entry, there’s sensory overload when we score a touchdown and there’s pyrotechnics,” Ryan Hammond, executive director of the Eagles Autism Challenge, told the AP. “We felt the sensory room was what we needed to be fully accessible . The idea behind it was not to change the experience but deliver a solution if they needed to take a break.”

Other Teams Are Joining The Cause

According to NewsWeek, many other teams are starting to offer headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads becoming sensory-inclusive-certified. Some of the people in charge of the program have kids with autism so they are doing this not only to help others but also from a personal place of understanding the importance of it.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider says, “We want to be a stadium where our fans felt welcome, and give them a space and an opportunity, if they are getting overwhelmed—we all know that [the Seahawks’ stadium] is very loud and very high sensory—so just give them a space to have that moment and to come back down so they can rejoin our game day and be part of it,”

It’s incredible to see both the NFL and NBA are taking action to help people with autism feel comfortable. Take a look below at another sports team, the NBA’s Cleveland Cavs and what they did for kids with autism.

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