SEATTLE, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks announced today new updates to the sensory room at Lumen Field, as well as training for event staff to better support guests with sensory needs. Launched in 2019 as the A-OK Sensory room, the space will now be known as "Ben's Room" and will continue to offer guests at Lumen Field a safe and calming environment for those who need a respite from the noise and excitement that comes with the Seahawks gameday experience.
The room was originally spearheaded by Traci Schneider, who along with her husband, Seahawks General Manager John Schneider, have long supported youth and families with autism through their foundation, Ben's Fund. They launched Ben's Fund in 2012 in honor of their son Ben, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.
To oversee the renovation project, the Seahawks partnered with KultureCity, the nation's leading nonprofit on sensory accessibility and acceptance for those with invisible disabilities. The newly remodeled Ben's Room is now outfitted with 100% recycled soundproof carpet along the floor and walls, along with new activity panels, bean bags from Yogibo, visual light panels by Nanoleaf, a Sparkle Interactive Light by NunoErin, which includes therapeutically-fun furniture embedded with soft glowing lights that respond to motion, and bubble walls. The room also features original artwork from Ben Schneider. As part of the project, KultureCity also facilitated training for more than 400 gameday staff at Lumen Field. Led by medical professionals, the training teaches staff how to recognize guests and fans with sensory needs, as well as how to handle sensory overload situations. The space is designed to be used by families for 15-20 minutes at a time, for a brief break from the noise during a game.
"We are proud to rename Lumen Field's sensory room 'Ben's Room' in recognition of the incredible work Traci and John Schneider continue to do in our community to support youth and families with autism," said Karen Wilkins-Mickey, Seahawks Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. "We know the noise of gameday can be overwhelming for many guests. My own son has not attended a Seahawks game yet due to sensory challenges related to autism, and I'm hopeful that inclusive rooms like this could possibly change that for him in the future. We are grateful to our partners at KultureCity for their efforts in helping us offer an enhanced quiet and calm space for anyone who needs it."
Ben's Room is located at the Guest Services Center on the Southwest Field Plaza and is open for all full stadium events. Children using the room must be accompanied by an adult. Fans can also check out complimentary sensory toolkits at the SW Guest Services Center location on the Field Plaza, just south of the Pro Shop. The toolkits include noise-cancelling headphones, ear plugs and sensory toys.
"Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that the Seahawks and Lumen Field are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing. We're honored to partner with the Seahawks to provide a truly inclusive experience for all fans and guests," said Uma Srivastava, Executive Director, KultureCity.
KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs, not just those with autism. Since the program's inception, KultureCity has created over 1,000 sensory-inclusive venues in 6 countries: this includes special events such as the NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl and MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts, including the NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017 and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. The Cleveland Cavaliers' Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, KultureCity was named one of the World's Most Innovative Companies for 2019 and 2020 by FastCompany and recently won the Industry Partner Award in TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Awards 2019.
Originally launched in 2019, the updated space will be renamed "Ben's Room" after the son of John & Traci Schneider, and continue to offer guests a calming environment on gamedays at Lumen Field. To oversee the renovation project, the Seahawks partnered with KultureCity, the nation's leading nonprofit on sensory accessibility and acceptance for those with invisible disabilities.