By Jonathan Carroll
College Park Center at The University of Texas at Arlington has partnered with KultureCity to make the arena and all its programs and events sensory inclusive. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests and fans with sensory needs. College Park Center is the first WNBA venue and first university venue in Texas to be certified sensory inclusive with KultureCity.
“Sporting and entertainment events are by nature high energy experiences, but in the moment, it is important we understand the excitement, noise level, and visual elements can be over stimulating for some,” states Jeff Davis, executive director of College Park Center. “I am thrilled that our entire staff has embraced this initiative with KultureCity, and they are committed to creating welcoming and inclusive experiences for all of our guests.”
The certification process entailed the staff at College Park Center being trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize those guests and fans with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards (produced in conjunction with Boardmaker) and weighted lap pads will be available for check out for guests feeling overwhelmed by the environment.
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over stimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a venue hosting live concerts, sports and other events. With its new certification, College Park Center is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible.
“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a basketball game, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment. Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that College Park Center is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing,” said Dr. Julian Maha, Co-Founder, KultureCity.
Prior to attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity app where they can view what sensory features are available and where to access them. Guests can also use the app to view the Social Story which will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying an event at College Park Center.
Jonathan Carroll is Assistant Director, Event and Venue Marketing, Special Event Facilities.