Utah arena adds ‘sensory room’ for kids with autism

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A new “sensory room” for children with autism will soon be open at Vivint Smart Home Arena, home to the Utah Jazz and many other major entertainment events.

Officials invited families with children on the autism spectrum to get a private look of the space on Wednesday, the Deseret News <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=”https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900012986/sensory-room-for-children-with-autism-unveiled-at-vivint-smart-home-arena.html?user=app”>reported</a> .

The room will provide autistic children with a place where they can decompress if they become overwhelmed with the sights and sounds inside the arena during Utah Jazz games or other events.

Parent Steve Pratt compared the experience that his son and other children with autism can go through to being at “a rock concert all the time.”

“A lot of times they have hypersensitivity to loud sounds,” Pratt said. “Sometimes all they need is a five-minute break … to decompress a little bit.”

It’s the third room of its kind found at an NBA arena, said Holly Mero-Bench, director of Vivint Gives Back, the philanthropic arm of the company.

The group has built 54 sensory rooms in schools and homes worldwide, including several in Utah, she said.

It is equipped with weights, medicine ball, small trampolines and computer tablets. There also are enclosed cubicles where they can play with soft, rough or hard and smooth toys. Those toys, along with additional displays around the room, are meant to engage the children’s tactile, auditory and visual senses or interact with their perceptions of movement or balance.

The space goes beyond a playroom and is meant to be a therapy room, Mero-Bench said.

“Each component in the room is meant to either stimulate or calm a specific sense,” she said.

The room also comes with TV monitors so parents can continue enjoying a Utah Jazz game while their child takes in all the space has it offer.

The room will be available to the public starting March 30.


Information from: Deseret News, <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=”http://www.deseretnews.com”>http://www.deseretnews.com</a>

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