Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mets To Host 10th Annual Autism Awareness Day

The Mets announced today that they will host the 10th annual Autism Awareness Day at Citi Field on Sunday, May 6.

According to the team,
"The Mets will take numerous steps to ensure fans participating in Autism Awareness Day have a special day at the ballpark. Based on recommendations from Autism Speaks, the Mets have created a private, secluded area in the Bullpen Plaza where fans can go if they need a break from the crowd. The ballpark's sound system will be turned down in the Left Field Landing and Citi Vision and the rightfield scoreboard will have reduced use of strobe lights or similar pulsating special effects. The club also collaborated with Autism Speaks on a 'Guide to Citi Field' that teaches children what to expect at the game."
This is fantastic. I love that the team is going out of its way to accommodate those on the autism spectrum. (For those who don't know, I work with students with autism during the summer).

Why are all of these accommodations so great? Why are they making them? I'll break it down for you.

It can be very difficult for those with autism to ignore any background noise or visuals like you or I. As a result, bright flashing lights, and loud booming music can lead to sensory overload. This sensory overload can be overwhelming and lead to stress and anxiety.

Hence the private, secluded area in the Bullpen Plaza. This quiet space will help people decrease their sensory overload, and essentially take a break from all the chaos around them.

As for the "Guide to Citi Field," people on the autism spectrum benefit from knowing what to expect. They will need to know what to expect once they arrive at the park (e.g. going through security, getting their ticket scanned, going to their seats, etc.), as well as what will happen and what they will see once they enter the park.

Good for the Mets for taking the time to make sure that everyone who attends Sunday's game, can do so comfortably.

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