Major League Baseball franchise the Cleveland Indians has teamed up with non-profit organisation KultureCity to make its Progressive Field stadium sensory inclusive.
The partnership will seek to create an accommodating and positive experience for Indians fans who have sensory needs.
Game-day staff at the Indians have been given training to enable them to recognise fans with sensory needs, and learn how best to deal with a sensory overload. Sensory challenges can be heightened by noise and overstimulation, with the atmospheric nature of live sports events often a trigger.
Progressive Field will also be fitted with sensory bags, which will include noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads. These items will be made available to individuals who may feel overwhelmed, and can be checked out from Fan Services at sections 153 and 550.
Four quiet spaces will also be situated around Progressive Field and will be marked by KultureCity signage.
KultureCity’s executive director Traci Johnson said, according to the TribeVibe website: “To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a baseball 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 the Indians are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”
Sensory sensitivities or challenges are most commonly experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other conditions.
The Indians become the third MLB team whose venue has been certified as sensory inclusive, joining the Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals.
KultureCity’s other major league partners include NBA basketball team the Cleveland Indians and NHL ice hockey franchise the Carolina Hurricanes.