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JWoww Opens Sensory Room at Barclays Center to Help Those with Sensory Needs

JWoww Opens Sensory Room at Barclays Center to Help Those with Sensory Needs

The sensory room at Barclays Center provides an escape for children and adults who have sensory processing sensitivities due to loud noise and other environmental triggers


Children and adults who have sensory sensitivities can now attend shows and games at the Barclays Center with a bit more ease. The Brooklyn arena has opened a new sensory room for guests with sensory needs who attend its sporting or entertainment events. These types of events can be triggers for someone with sensory processing challenges. 

Barclays partnered with KultureCity, a nonprofit that helps people with sensory needs, to create the space for kids and adults to use during all events at the arena. The 150-square-foot room serves as a dedicated space for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment. 

Creating the Barclays Center’s Sensory Room

An unexpected partner in the project is TV personality and former Jersey Shore star, Jenni Farley–commonly known as JWoww. She donated the room, and it’s named in honor of her son, Greyson Mathews, who has autism. Located on Barclay’s main concourse, the Greyson Mathews Sensory Room was designed by medical professionals to provide a quiet reprieve for individuals with sensory needs. From inside the room, guests are not able to see nor hear the game or event taking place. 

Farley, along with representatives from KultureCity and Barclays, formally opened the room with an official ribbon cutting prior to the Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors game on Dec. 14. 

“In 2018, I joined the incredible KultureCity organization to help support their mission of autism awareness and acceptance,” Farley said. “One of my biggest goals in joining the organization has been to make common public places such as airports, arenas, and malls, sensory inclusive. To have this come to fruition, in honor of my son Greyson, is truly a dream come true. Greyson and so many others are now able to attend events at Barclays Center worry-free.”

Experiencing challenges with sensory regulation can be very stressful. Symptoms can include anxiety, panic, and, when it comes to children, tantrums. Several conditions are associated with sensory overload, including autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia, and Parkinson's disease. People with sensory-processing sensitivities react stronger to stimuli such as light and noise, according to Psychology Today

What's in the Greyson Mathews Sensory Room at Barclays Center? 

One in 6 individuals in the U.S. has a sensory processing need, according to KultureCity. One of the major barriers for this group is sensitivity to noise and overstimulation—a large part of the environment at venues like Barclays. But the atmosphere in the Greyson Mathews Sensory Room is calming and is outfitted with relaxing décor, including:

  • Bean-bag chairs from furniture retailer, Yogibo 

  • Visual light panels by Nanoleaf, a company that makes LED lighting

  • Activity panels and bubble walls (clear panels that are similar to aquarium tanks and designed to be calming)

  • Custom tactile artwork created by an artist with autism

“When we talk about accessibility and inclusion, we have an obligation to ensure our guests with an invisible disability are treated with the appropriate accommodations at arena events,” said Stacey McCoy, senior director of guest services at Barclays Center. “Working with KultureCity to acquire sensory inclusive certification has helped Barclays Center become more welcoming to all our guests and serve an entirely new community of individuals.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jenni JWOWW (@jwoww)



 

Comforting attention at Barclays doesn't end at the sensory room. The venue also gives out sensory bags for fans who need them, free of charge. The bags, provided by KultureCity, are packed with items to help guests manage sensory overload, including noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, lap-pads, and more. 

There's a free KultureCity app that families and individuals can use prior to attending an event at Barclays and even some other venues throughout New York. The app tells users what sensory features are available at the event's venue and provides a preview of what to expect while on-site. 

For more information about the Barclays Center and the sensory room, visit barclayscenter.com. You can also follow Barclays on Facebook or Instagram

Main photo courtesy Barclays Center

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Barbara Russo

Author: Barbara Russo is a freelance writer who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the City University of New York. She enjoys playing guitar, following current events, and hanging out with her pet rabbits. See More

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