Football games are loud and overstimulating, even for normal fans. And Seattle prides itself on a raucous, impassioned game environment.
That's a challenge for fans with autism, who would otherwise be walking into a maelstrom of stressful influences. But the Seahawks just took steps to make that environment a little more accommodating: The team now offers special toolkits to fans on the autism spectrum, giving them some gear to improve their experience at the game.
The toolkits were supplied by the non-profit program "I'm A-OK," which is run by two women in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The women have contacted other NFL teams and have received interest in the toolkits, but the Seahawks were the first to make them available at games.
"We realized there were a few simple things we could do that would make a positive impact for Seahawks fans on the spectrum," said VP of Stadium Operations David Young, in a statement. "The toolkits are just the first step."
The kits were featured on KING 5 News in Seattle:
The kits feature both noise cancelling headphones and earplugs, since many children with autism are sensitive to noise. The kids also have a detailed game day schedule to help parents prep for every aspect of the visit to the stadium. A toy is included, as well as stickers and ID wristbands to let other fans know that the child may experience some difficulties at the game.
Sounds like a great, simple solution. Hopefully other NFL teams get on board quick -- and teams in other sports, too.