United Center is first Chicago sports venue to earn 'sensory inclusive' certification

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The United Center has just become the first sports and entertainment venue in Chicago to be certified as "sensory inclusive." The goal is to make sure every visitor can fully enjoy games and other events at the facility.

The United Center recently partnered with non-profit group KultureCity to help accommodate those with sensory needs.

"Without sensory inclusion, it makes it difficult for those with autism or PTSD or other unique abilities," said Noelle Foley, an ambassador for KultureCity. "It makes it hard to enjoy the event because they are just overwhelmed."

Foley got involved with the non-profit organization because her brother has autism.
Now, because of partnerships with major venues like the United Center, her whole family can join in on the fun.

"It's really incredible to see how much KultureCity is expanding through different venues, events, companies, people," Foley said.

Thanks to the partnership, guests can request a sensory bag complete with noise cancelling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards. The bags are available at different guest relations booths throughout the center.

"All of us here at the United Center went through training to be able to identify a sensory overload situation and how to manage situations like that," said Colleen Quinn, a senior marketing manager for the United Center.

Colleen Quinn with the United Center called this a major milestone, one she hopes other venues in Chicago will join in on.

We always want to create the most positive and accommodating experiences for all them and this was just one of those opportunities to really develop that program and bringing it to life," Quinn said.
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