Toyota Center goes sensory inclusive to accommodate fans



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Toyota Center Houston Image: Toyota Center

Toyota Center – the indoor arena located in downtown Houston, Texas in US – has collaborated with non-profit tech start-up KultureCity – to make events at the facility sensory inclusive. The arena serves as home of the Houston Rockets NBA basketball franchise and is now a certified sensory inclusive arena.

As part of the arena’s KultureCity certification, Toyota Center staff has been trained on how to recognize guests and fans with sensory needs and how they can handle a sensory overload situation.

The certification process will ensure that the staffs at Toyota Center is trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize guests and fans with sensory issues and how to handle a sensory overload situation. The venue will be made sensory-inclusive also to give fans an exquisite experience. Sensory bags with noise-cancelling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards (produced in conjunction with Boardmaker) and weighted lap pads will be proffered to supporters who may become overwhelmed by the atmosphere during games or events at Toyota Center.

Prior to attending events, families can also download the KultureCity app for free. The app details what sensory features are available and where they can be accessed, as well as the Social Story, which gives a sneak peek to guests as to what can be expected during events at the arena.

Doug Hall, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Toyota Center, explained, “We are always looking for ways to improve our fan experience. Giving attendees a world-class experience is very important to us. This new initiative helps us make sure we are positively impacting fans with sensory issues.”

Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity, added, “To know that you soon will be able to see families attend an event at Toyota Center, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heart-warming moment.”

“Our communities are what shape our lives and to know that Toyota Center is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing,” Julian further added.

One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over stimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a venue like Toyota Center. With its new certification, Toyota Center is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when attending any event at Toyota Center.

Individuals with autism, dementia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other similar conditions often experience sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation. Such issues can get heightened due to stimulation and noise during NBA games or concerts. Noise is an enormous part of the environment in a stadium like Toyota Center. This new initiative will allow spectators with sensory issues to enjoy an enriching experience whenever they happen to visit the arena.

KultureCity has previously joined hands with a host of major-league teams and venues, including Fiserv Forum, Capital One Arena and U.S. Bank Stadium.

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