OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Civic Center is working to ensure its experiences are more accessible to all people – including a group that’s often overlooked.
It’s now a certified sensory inclusive venue – to help those who can become overwhelmed by stimulating experiences.
The sights and sounds at the Civic Center bring excitement and wonder to many.
“It’s kind of inherent when you go to a basketball game or to the state fair or here to a theatre, it’s going to be really stimulating, that’s part of the experience,” said Ford Altenbern, project manager with the Civic Center Community Foundation.
But for some, the spectacle is overwhelming.
“It’s a really wide community. There may be people who are suffering from PTSD, people who have autism, people who have had a stroke, often find themselves really overwhelmed by this stimuli,” Altenbern said.
So the Civic Center teamed up with “KultureCity” – a national organization – that provides training and tools for Civic Center staff to interact with patrons who have sensory sensitivity.
“If somebody is feeling really overwhelmed or having a meltdown, they know how to react appropriately, which is often times one of the biggest problems that faces venues,” said Altenbern.
There are bags with sensory tools and new “quiet” zones for patrons who feel overwhelmed.
“A lot of times you think about wheelchairs, you think about assistive listening devices but a lot of times people may not be thinking of ways to help the community which may be suffering from sensory sensitivity,” Altenbern said. “So this program’s really important so we can help accommodate those people who often struggle to find events they can go to where they’re accommodated.”
If you’d benefit from this program, you don’t have to set anything up in advance, just go by the information desk to get the bags.
There is also a KultureCity app that helps people familiarize themselves with the venue before they show up.