Lifestyle & Human Interest

Hockey Arena Offers 'Sensory Bags' So Fans with Sensory Sensitivities Can Be Included


Going to a sporting event or concert can be a fun outing for most families. But for families that have a member with sensory sensitivities, it can be an isolating reminder.

Many stadiums and venues are seeking ways to include spectators with these special needs, the latest of which is Enterprise Center — home of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues — and the attached Stifel Theatre.

On Sept. 23, the Missouri stadium announced that it will now offer free Sensory Bags, which include items such as noise cancelling headphones, fidget tools, weighted lap pads and more.

These bags will allow fans with autism, dementia, PTSD and other conditions that cause sensory sensitivity to enjoy any game of the season instead of being confined to designated “sensory friendly” nights.

“For the past few years, Stifel Theatre has been offering sensory friendly performances at family shows in order to give children the opportunity to experience their favorite characters,” Todd Mitchell, the General Manager of Enterprise Center and Stifel Theatre, said during a news release.

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“We are thrilled to be able to have both Enterprise Center and Stifel Theatre increase and expand our efforts by becoming certified in sensory inclusivity,” he continued. “By having the sensory bags available, people with sensory sensitivities will be able to enjoy the variety of experiences we have to offer.”

The bags were made in partnership with KultureCity, a nonprofit based out of Birmingham, Alabama, dedicated to creating communities where people with autism and other sensory sensitivities can be fully included.

“We’re working hard to make sure that individuals and families with sensory needs are included and are able to enjoy a sporting event or museum, whatever it may be, whenever the doors for that venue are open,” Uma Srivastava, the chief operating officer for KultureCity, told The Western Journal.

Would you be more likely to go to a venue that is sensory inclusive?

KultureCity worked with Enterprise Center to ensure not only that the bags would be available to fans who need them, but that at least 50 percent of the stadium’s front-facing employees have received training to help assist fans who may be overwhelmed by the environment.

Before attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity App to see what sensory services are available, and to see a Social Story which provides a preview of what to expect while attending an event.

Since sharing the announcement on Facebook, the public’s response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Just over a day after sharing a picture of the Sensory Bag, the post has been shared over 1,000 times and received over 100 positive comments from fans.

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“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a hockey game or concert, true community binding experiences, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment,” Dr. Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity, said in a news release.

“Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that both Enterprise Center and Stifel Theatre are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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