Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets NBA basketball franchise, has teamed up with non-profit organisation KultureCity to make events at the arena sensory inclusive.
As part of the arena’s KultureCity certification, Toyota Center staff have been trained on how to recognise guests and fans with sensory needs and how they can handle a sensory overload situation.
Sensory bags with noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads will also be available to fans who may become overwhelmed by the atmosphere during games or events at Toyota Center.
Families can also download the KultureCity app for free before attending events. The app details what sensory features are available and where they can be accessed, as well as the Social Story, which previews what can be expected during events at the arena.
Doug Hall, senior vice-president and general manager of Toyota Center, said: “We are always looking for ways to improve our fan experience. Giving attendees a world-class experience is very important to us. This new initiative helps us make sure we are positively impacting fans with sensory issues.”
Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity, added: “To know that you soon will be able to see families attend an event at Toyota Center, 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 Toyota Center is 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 with sensory regulation are often felt by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions, and can be heightened due to the stimulation and noise during NBA games or concerts.