Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S., with one in 59 children diagnosed with it. And the Philadelphia Eagles just did something that will help families of children with autism and sensory needs by building a sensory-friendly room at their stadium.
Now those fans can visit the room at Lincoln Financial Field, which opened last month. The Eagles are the first NFL team to do this and the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars also opened similar rooms last month. The 500-square foot room includes activity boards, large building blocks, and no windows and it was designed by medical professionals to make it quieter and more secure, with colors, lighting and sound carefully chosen.
“When we think about families with children with autism coming to a game, there’s barriers to re-entry, there’s sensory overload when we score a touchdown and there’s pyrotechnics,” explains Ryan Hammond, executive director of the Eagles Autism Challenge. “We see it benefiting fans with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or anyone who feels overwhelmed in the environment.”