For most, attending a sporting event such as an AFL match is an exciting experience. However, for some people with sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation, such as those with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions, attending such events can be loud and crowded. Attending events like this can be overwhelming and this is why it can sometimes be easier for parents and carers to avoid these places altogether.
By partnering with US non-profit KultureCity to become an accredited Sensory Inclusive Stadium we aim to create an inclusive experience for every guest and improve our ability to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when attending any event.
Fans will have the use of a dedicated Sensory Room including a quiet space and a multi-sensory room with equipment donated by BCYF and Percy Baxter Perpetual Trust. The Sensory Zone has a small sensory room within a larger quiet space and is designed to enable guests to feel comfortable and in control during their time at GMHBA Stadium. Guests are welcome to visit the room before, during or after the game. The sensory space has been trialled over the first two AFL match days at GMHBA Stadium this season, with over 20 families utilising the space.
As part of the Sensory Inclusive initiative, Sensory Backpacks will be available to borrow on event days. The backpacks include fidget toys, noise-cancelling headphones as well as a number of other resources, and are available for checkout at no cost by leaving an ID at the following places:
- Geelong Cats Welcome Desk (ground level, Brownlow Stand)
- Deakin Cats Community Centre (Gate 8)
- St Johns First Aid Room (ground level, Ford Stand)
The Sensory Inclusive initiative has been nearly two years in the making and has involved a large number of community groups to become a reality, including:
Deakin University, Barwon Child Youth and Family (BCYF), Barwon Paediatric Services, Leisure Networks, Gateways Support Services, NDIS, Latrobe Community Health, G21, City of Greater Geelong, Armstrong Creek School, Diversitat and Hope Bereavement Services. Kane Constructions undertook the building works free of charge and BCYF donated close to $100,000 in equipment.
For more information about the Sensory Inclusive Stadium initiative and a full list of amenities at GMHBA Stadium, please visit our Accessibility at GMHBA Stadium page.
Alternatively, if you’d like to speak to someone about Accessibility and Access at GMHBA Stadium, feel free to contact the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust via
Phone: 03 5224 9111