and I am on the Autism Spectrum, I was diagnosed when I was 2. Sensory issues are important to me because I have problems in some situations, and I know others do too and it keeps them from going places and enjoying things that people take for granted. Nearly 1 in 5 people worldwide have a disability.
When I was in High School at Franklin Academy in Wake Forest NC, we had to do a senior project that was important to us and could help the community and my project was Sensory Processing Disorder in large Venues. When I was small my parents took me to all the Carolina Hurricanes games and because my dad was a pilot, I was able to travel a lot also. Those activities helped me a lot. I was able to get use to noise and lights and crowds, but I know many people don’t have the opportunities I had and don’t do things because of their sensory issues. Its not just people with autism that have these issues, people with PTSD, dementia and other disabilities experience this as well.
I read about some venues being sensory inclusive like the Quicken Loan arena and a few other stadiums. They all worked with a great nonprofit called KultureCity who trains the staff and certifies the location as sensory inclusive, giving out bags to people who need it, containing headphones, cue cards and fidget toys to help them while at the venue.
I introduced KultureCity to the PNC arena where my favorite hockey team plays (Carolina Hurricanes) and presented my project. I was very nervous because I had never done that before and they were so nice, They thought it was a great idea and would help everyone that attends any event at the arena, not just at hockey games and they are now Sensory inclusive with their employees being sensory certified. I also spoke with the NC Zoo, NC State Carter Findley stadium and the Durham Bulls (DBAP) and all are sensory inclusive.
I went to the RDU airport to discuss KultureCity and try and get a Sensory Room where people could hang out while they wait for their flight because the noise and crowds are pretty bad sometimes, but because of security, space and other factors its hard to do. That is why I am now raising money for a Mobile Sensory Room for NC that can move form place to place for special events so everyone can experience all types of events.
The vehicle can travel to NASCAR races, Marathon runs, Festivals and other locations and offer a calm experience to those people who are sensitive to over stimulation but want to be a part of what’s happening. It’s a traveling sensory room.
I know what its like being left out, always being asked to take the picture but not in the picture, and that’s OK. I love helping others who are like me because I know what they are going through and I really would love to be able to get a mobile vehicle so others can have the fun at places I have had.