Canton Leisure Services is partnering with KultureCity, a leading non-profit organization committed to creating more inclusive communities nationwide, in an effort to ensure its programs and events are sensory inclusive and welcoming to all. This new initiative will provide an accommodating environment for participants, enabling guests with sensory issues to have a positive experience when taking part in a Canton Leisure Services program or event.
To date, Canton Leisure Services is the first Park and Recreation agency in the U.S. to receive Sensory Inclusive certification from KultureCity. This certification process included staff training led by medical professionals on how to recognize individuals with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads will now be available for all guests to utilize. In addition, facility signs will indicate noisier spaces as “Headphone Zones.” Staff will also be able to direct guests to quieter or less stimulating areas in facilities or at events. Prior to attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity App where one can view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. The App also includes the Social Story, which will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying a Canton Leisure Services event.
“Canton Leisure Services is committed to ensuring that all of our programs and events are inclusive and welcoming to all individuals who are interested in participating,” said Greg Hohenberger, Canton Leisure Services Director. “By providing sensory inclusive resources to our guests, we hope that more individuals will take part in Canton community events and not avoid them due to loud noises and possibly over-stimulating environments.”
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a high traffic area. With its new certification, Canton Leisure Services is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when visiting a Canton Leisure Services facility.
“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a family-friendly community event in Canton, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment,” said Traci Johnson, KultureCity Executive Director. “Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that Canton Leisure Services is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”
KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using their resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs; not just those with Autism. In the past year alone, KultureCity has created several sensory inclusive venues and events including the NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, MLB All-Star Weekend, 18 NBA arenas, 6 NFL stadiums, 5 NHL arenas 3 MLB arenas, and countless zoos, science centers and aquariums across the nation.
Canton Leisure Services has been accredited since 2004 by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA), which recognizes park and recreation agencies for excellence in operation and service. Currently, there are 175 CAPRA accredited agencies in the United States. Canton Leisure Services was also recognized as the 2008 winner of the National Recreation and Parks Association Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.
For additional information about Canton Leisure Services Sensory Inclusive Certification, please visit www.cantonfun.org or call 734/394-5360.