Coritiba go extra mile for sensory supporters



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First stadium with sensory room in Brazil Image: Coritiba

The Brazilian football club – Coritiba Foot Ball Club – and the ICO Institute – a non-profit association dedicated to assisting autistic people – inaugurated the Sensory Accommodation Cabin for people with autism and their families recently at their residence – the Couto Pereira Stadium in Curitiba, Brazil.

‘Coritiba’ stated that the above initiative was made possible through a charity auction event held in the month of May, and through donation of materials and supply of labor from partner companies for the above purpose.

The Coritiba Foot Ball Club, commonly known as Coritiba and colloquially referred to as ‘Coxa-Branca’ or ‘Coxa’, is a Brazilian football club from Curitiba, capital City of the Brazilian State of Paraná. Founded in 1909, it is the oldest football club in the State.

The 40,502-capacity Estádio Major Antônio Couto Pereira, often shortened to Couto Pereira, is the home of Coritiba Foot Ball Club, located in Curitiba, Paraná State, Brazil. Its formal name honors Major Antônio Couto Pereira, who was Coritiba’s President in 1926, 1927 and between 1930 and 1933. He started the stadium construction.

A Sensory Box is a container filled with any kind of tactile material that kids explore with their hands. With a Sensory Box, children are using their sight, touch and smell to experience their environment in a totally new way. It’s a great way for children to engage their senses and to relax in a new environment.

‘Coritiba’ further stated that the T-shirts worn by the Coritiba players when they won the 2022 Paranaense Championship (the top-flight football league of the State of Paraná) was auctioned in the event. The shirts became a symbol to stand by people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD often have problems with social communication and interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests. People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention.

Stated the Founder of ICO Institute, Elyse Matos, “The cabin that we have helped set up has exceeded all expectations. As a good amount of money was donated for the purpose, it was possible to improvise on the project in all aspects such as acoustic quality, lighting and accessibility. We are very satisfied.”

Emphasized Juarez Moraes, President of Coritiba, “We are very proud of this entire endeavor undertaken. We are also proud of being pioneers among clubs in Brazil, because now we can welcome our supporters with ASD and offer them all care and comfort. After all, our ASD supporters show the same kind of passion for us as our normal supporters. The Sensory Accommodation Cabin will do away with invisible barriers.”

The matchday environment in a football stadium can become invisible barriers for people with ASD, who have sensory hypersensitivity and are not comfortable with the chants of the crowd cheering for the team, fireworks, stadium lighting, and movement of people by the horde – these activities take place in a soccer stadium on a matchday, something which is a part and parcel of the game of soccer.

For the above reason, the Sensory Accommodation Cabin has come up at the Couto Pereira Stadium so that fans with ASD can watch the match in a comfortable ambience. The environment has favorable acoustic, thermal and lighting conditions for the autistic person to feel good. The acoustic treatment of the walls and ceiling, for example, has been carried out to reduce the noise level of the stadium as much as possible. Also, microphones will capture the sound outside of the stadium, which may have its volume calibrated in internal speakers, as the situation warrants.

The ambient lighting has been customized, using indirect light, providing greater visual comfort. The seats have been tailor-made for ASD supporters, such as, for example, a high chair so that the individual can isolate himself and reorganize himself sensorially, if required.

The ASD supporters will have to make reservations in advance in order to use the Sensory Accommodation Cabin as it has a limited number of seats per match. The reservation will have to be made ahead of the game week.

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