INDIANAPOLIS — Thousands of basketball fans are expected to come to Indianapolis over the next few weeks for the B1G Basketball Tournament and the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
Many of those games are going to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis City-County Councillor Ali Brown helped make sure the games will be a sensory-inclusive experience for those who may be on the Autism Spectrum.
"Lucas Oil Stadium is actually a sensory-inclusive location. It has gone through the training put on by Culture City," Brown said. "Somebody that's sensory-sensitive, such as someone with autism, they have some options when they come here."
For all events at Lucas Oil Stadium, you can get a Sensory Inclusive Bag that is free. It comes with a weighted blanket, sunglasses, headphones and fidget spinners. Those are all things Brown says can help someone who is sensory-sensitive who wants to participate in a big event.
"Maybe you're going to enjoy everything but you need it to be more quiet, you weren't anticipating how loud it is," Brown said. "Maybe like a lot of parents, you forget the one thing you need that's going to keep everyone together and stop a meltdown from happening. These things in the bag can help with that."
Eric Neuburger, stadium director at Lucas Oil Stadium, says making their space sensory-inclusive was a no-brainer. He's hopeful other venues will do the same.
"We really see Lucas Oil Stadium as a jewel of Indianapolis and Indiana. We want everyone to feel welcome here," Neuburger said. "We really do try to be on the cutting edge when we can. This was something that was important to us."
Todd Root with the Autism Society of Indiana says this means a lot to families with children on the Autism Spectrum. He tells WRTV about the experience his son had growing up without public spaces that had accommodations
"As a parent, you want to have your children be involved in the community and be involved in all the greatness this city could offer," Root said. "Unfortunately because of sounds and crowds, my son from a very young age was never able to participate in all that. I'm glad to see Lucas Oil Stadium getting behind this."
"It doesn't change the game, it doesn't change a thing for anybody but what it does is help people who may need assistance during the game," Brown said.
Along with providing Sensory Inclusive Bags, Lucas Oil Stadium also has a dedicated space called a Sensory Room. Anyone feeling overwhelmed can go their relief.
Stadium staff has also been trained to understand the needs that someone on the Spectrum may have while attending an event.