Sensory Kits Aid Venue Visitors

Staples Center, first in L.A. to offer aid to autistic and other PTSD guests

  • by Andrew N. McLean
  • Published: October 11, 2017

Sensory kits are now available at Staples Center, Los Angeles, and other venues to aid autistic and PTSD visitors.

Staples Center, Los Angeles, has teamed up with Life is Washable Inc., to take a big step in seeing that their guests are able to enjoy events more comfortably and navigate their venue without a problem. 

Sensory kits will now be available to all Staples Center guests who are in need of assistance during their visit to the venue. 

The bright lights, loud noises, and large numbers of guests at events can make it difficult for some to enjoy the events. Sensory kits will allow individuals with Autism, Dementia, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), among other ailments, to experience an event without issue. 

"We’ve found these kits were a great way for us to implement an additional benefit for our guests,” said Danielle Edouarde, vice president of guest services & security at Staples Center. “It makes their experience a little more comfortable, while not removing them from the entire situation of being at a live event either with their family or with friends."

Sensory kits are given out free of charge and are designed to support individuals of all ages with sensory needs. Each kit includes a drawstring handbag, noise reducing earmuff and earplugs, anti-glare glasses, sensory fidget toys, identification wristbands, stickers and cards, sanitizing wipes, a venue map and event schedule and a communication card. 

"The communication card that’s in there was developed by a speech and language pathologist," said Jen O'Brien, executive director at Life is Washable Inc. "It’s not just for someone with sensory needs. It can be used for someone who doesn’t speak English, or is having a difficult time communicating." 

The wristbands in the sensory kit can depict the location of the user's family and include a contact number in case the user is lost or separated from their family. Identification stickers can be used to alert attendees and employees of the individual's disabilities, or difficulties they may have while in the venue.

Staples Center first looked to improve the experience of guests after receiving feedback from event goers. Some asked for quiet spaces where they can take a break from the loudness and bright lights of events, according to Edouarde. Staff didn't want guests to miss parts of any events and after doing research in an attempt to find a solution, they partnered with Life is Washable Inc., who was able to assist with the issue.

"One of the things we learn from guests is that they just want to feel included in the event and not like they have to be separated in order to feel comfortable in the venue," said Amber Watts, director of guest services at Staples Center. 

Staples Center is the first venue in Southern California to implement sensory kits. Across the nation, there are currently 12 venues that offer the kits, with the smallest seating 350 guests and the largest seating 33,000. Sensory kits are currently in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y., as well as Capital One Center, Washington, D.C. The Minnesota Wild, who play in Xcel Energy Arena, St. Paul, has also expressed interest in the kits, according to O'Brien. 

This marks the third year that Life is Washable Inc., has offered sensory kits. Due to their growing popularity among guests and employees, the kits look to be around for a while. 

"We’ve gotten great feedback; we’ve already had people use our kits," said Edouarde. "People find that these kits are a great way for them to enjoy the event." 

 

 


 

  • by Andrew N. McLean
  • Published: October 11, 2017