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A quiet room at stadium for autistic kids

02 Apr 2019

By Sakshi Agrawal

Kids with autism can now watch football matches at Marvel Stadium, in a collaborative initiative between St. Kilda Football Club, the AFL, Moose Toys and Amaze, an autism support organisation.

Normal game experiences like fans singing and cheering, loud music and food odours can lead to sensory overload for autistic people.

“For those living with autism or Asperger’s disease, sounds, smells and sights can be extremely overwhelming,” said Clair White, media manager of St Kilda Football Club.

Therefore, this “chill out room” or sensory room will help these children to deregulate. They can, then, return to the stadium or watch the game in the room.

“It is dimly lit, quiet and contains calming activities. Children and their parents can come in at any time during the game, keep watching the football on the big screen and enjoy themselves in a safe and specifically tailored environment,” Ms White said.

The room also has beanbags and pillows so that kids can watch the game in comfort. They will also be provided with headphones and football-shaped stress balls to use and decorate.

The AFL’s inclusion team hopes that, by 2022, all clubs will provide calming rooms.

The room is available free of charge at all St Kilda Marvel Stadium home games for the 2019 season.

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