My facility is starting a partnership I am super excited about! It will make us more accessible and inclusive to the 1 in 6 individuals that have a sensory need. For those sensitive to noises, light, smells, and crowds, it can be more than overwhelming to visit an interpretive site, it can be physically painful. Luckily it doesn’t take much work on our part to gain awareness and offer acceptance and inclusion.
Many zoos, aquariums, and sports stadiums already partner with KultureCity, which offers free training and resources to help facilities like ours accommodate guests with sensory sensitivities. According to the training I took, individuals with this medical condition (related to multiple diagnoses) compose the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.
To help them, we will have signs on our grounds to alert guests to areas that are often calm or busy and packs for individuals and families to use while visiting. These include tools to help people with sensory needs and a lanyard for participants to wear to help staff identify them in case they need assistance. Our staff members have taken a short online training so we know some simple ways to help and we are ready to begin a new chapter of accessibility.
For more information on the program, see https://www.kulturecity.org/ or check in with me in a few months to see how it’s going. If anyone reading this is involved in inclusion programs or initiatives please let me know. I’d love to learn more.