From a young age, Tina Chiao’s son has been a “huge Canucks fan.”
But as someone with autism, “he faces significant sensory sensitivities and behavioural difficulties that make attending Canucks games a major challenge,” she said.
Now, thanks to new initiatives announced this week by Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Chiao and her family will enjoy “peace of mind” with the potential to make more memories with their favourite team.
Those initiatives come in the form of the Rogers Arena officially being designated an “Autism Aware” facility.
Provided by the Canucks Autism Network, this designation makes Rogers Arena the first NHL arena in Canada to comprehensively feature autism accessibility.
“Starting April 3rd, we are excited to announce that through our partnership with the Canucks Autism Network, Rogers Arena will have increased measures to support our guests with sensory needs and can provide more options when they feel overwhelmed by the environment during Canucks games, concerts and events,” said Jeff Stipec, COO of Canucks Sports & Entertainment.
“It is through these procedures that we can continue to elevate the fan experience and offer an inclusive, accessible, safe and fun environment for all of our guests at Rogers Arena,” he added.
Resources now available at Rogers Arena to fans living with autism include:
- Sensory Kits at each Guest Services location to assist individuals with sensory sensitivities. Each kit contains noise-blocking earphones generously donated by Honeywell, a sensory toy, ID bracelet, a visual storybook, arena map, and game-night timeline.
- Approximately 55 Rogers Arena Event Staff have received Canucks Autism Network training on how to recognize autism and how to best interact and communicate with those on the spectrum.
- The existing Fan Text Service is now set up to dispatch trained staff to provide support where needed to fans with autism.
- A quiet room is available for fans with sensory sensitivities, based on availability and by request.
- Visual and video storybooks for fans to better prepare themselves for what to expect while attending Canucks games.
Founded in 2008 by Vancouver Canucks Co-owners Paolo and Clara Aquilini, Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides year-round sports and recreation programs to individuals and families living with autism, while increasing awareness and providing training in communities across BC.