Bright lights and roaring crowds at sporting events can be overwhelming for those with sensory challenges.
So organizers at the World cup are calling a timeout for fans who want their own space to enjoy the game.
While the sounds of thunderous celebration at the World Cup are what many soccer fans savor, for others the sensory overload can become too much.
Sensory rooms have opened in three of Qatar’s World Cup stadiums, which give adults and children with autism and other sensory challenges a quiet place to relieve anxiety.
“Sometimes it gets a bit too overwhelming within the stadium bowl. And this is a calm and secure environment that people can retreat to and enjoy the game from here,” said Hala Ousta, FIFA’s diversity and accessibility manager.
Alison Saraf, co-founder of Sensory Souk, has a child with autism and said getting an assist like this at such a huge event is a big win for everyone.
“The hope is that we might ignite a new passion and a child or an adult that has never experienced this before,” Saraf said.
Floor to ceiling windows let families keep an eye on the field, while enjoying a safe space in the stadium. The goal is comfort and to give everyone the best shot at enjoying the big game.