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Sensory Room at Perth’s Optus Stadium gets official unveiling

Sensory Room at Perth’s Optus Stadium gets official unveiling
April 17, 2024

In operation since the start of the AFL season, a new sensory room at Perth's Optus Stadium has today been official unveiled.

Introduced last year, the Purple Hands Sensory Room, made possible by uLaunch - powered by Angus Knight, now has a permanent location in the venue at near aisle 149.

With in-room support by the Autism Association of Western Australia, the room is ready for individuals with sensory needs, who may require a quiet space during games.

Optus Stadium advises “visiting a Stadium can be overwhelming, with large crowds, noises, bright lights and unfamiliar situations contributing to sensory overload.

“The room is an escape from the crowds, sounds, lights and provides a calming environment for those with sensory sensitivities.”

Constructed at a cost of $190,000, it features an open area with carpet flooring, bean bags and sensory toys; a bench seat for carers in the open area; three individual booths, with carpet flooring and floor to ceiling curtains; a child and carer booth with a storage cupboard, and shelving for toys and activities; a TV mounted in the corner of the room, for patrons to continue watching the event without sound; and soft lighting.

Within the room, sensory items include bean bags, tactile wall panels, gymnic disco cushions, body socks and noise protection headphones.

All event patrons can access the sensory room but visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied and supervised by a responsible adult at all times while in the space.

Commenting on its introduction, VenuesWest Chief Executive, David Etherton stated "this is a fantastic initiative that follows the lead from several venues around Australia, including RAC Arena, that ensures a welcoming environment for those with sensory processing difficulties.

"We have already received feedback that people are attending events at Optus Stadium for the first time because of this facility."

Speaking at today’s unveiling, Western Australian Minister for Culture and the Arts and Sport and Recreation stated “we have long celebrated Optus Stadium as a world class sports and entertainment venue, however it should be recognised that some elements that make this stadium great, including its audio-visual capabilities, may also create a barrier for others to attend.

"Sport brings people together, it can be played by all and enjoyed by all. By providing these fantastic sensory room facilities at Optus Stadium we are facilitating an environment that allows anyone to cheer on their favourite Dockers, Eagles or Scorchers players, or sing along with their favourite artists.

"We have already received feedback that there are Western Australians who have recently attended their first events at Optus Stadium because of these facilities, and VenuesWest and VenuesLive should be commended for considering the needs of all visitors to the stadium."

The design was completed following extensive consultation with the Autism Association of Western Australia and the Purple Hands Foundation (PHF) following the lead from several venues around Australia, including RAC Arena.

Images: Optus Stadium (top, credit) and the Purple Hands Sensory Room, made possible by uLaunch - powered by Angus Knight, at the venue (below, credit: Autism Association of Western Australia).

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