(CNN)The "no reentry" rule that's applied at most major venues can make a family coping with sensory needs think twice about whether they go to an event like a professional football game.
Philadelphia Eagles open sensory room for fans with autism
The Philadelphia Eagles built a sensory room in their Lincoln Financial Field so those fans don't have to feel left out.
The Eagles are the first NFL franchise to open a sensory room, constructed in the off season, exclusively for fans with sensory challenges who might need to decompress from all the excitement and noise happening out by the field.
KultureCity, a nonprofit based in Birmingham, Alabama, helped the Eagles get the stadium up to "sensory-inclusive" certification standards. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), which has worked with the Eagles on autism advocacy initiatives in the past, sponsored the room.
Every guest services stand in the stadium now offers "sensory bags" filled with tools like noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads, the Eagles said in a news release. For fans who might get too overwhelmed by the loud noises and bright lights on the field, the sensory room offers a quiet spot to regroup.
"They can't see the field, but that's kind of on purpose, so they can take a break, center themselves and rejoin the experience," Ryan Hammond, executive director of the Eagles Autism Challenge, told CNN.
One in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And sensory tools aren't just for individuals on the autism spectrum -- One in six children in the US have a development disability, a CDC study says.
The goal, KultureCity Chief Operating Officer Uma Srivastava says, is to "prevent social isolation for those with sensory needs. We provide sensory tools and recommendations to make simple modifications so an individual with sensory needs is able to enjoy anything."
The KultureCity app also offers a "social story" experience for all of their sensory-inclusive certified venues, so families can prepare for their experience and know what amenities are available.
As a part of the certification about 700 game-day and full-time Eagles empl