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Mets Latest to Add Sensory Nook for Neurodiverse Guests

Paul Steinbach
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A new “dugout” has arrived at New York's Citi Field — one designed to help those with autism, ADHD and dyslexia escape from the overstimulation that can occur at major sporting events.

As reported by MLB.com, the Sensory Nook was installed Monday in the stadium's concourse. It is free to use by any guest who needs a break from the excitement of the action on the diamond.

“We take a lot of pride in offering a safe place for all of our fans at Citi Field,” said Mets president Sandy Alderson. “We are thrilled to include this service and that the Sensory Nook will provide an opportunity for those who wish to use it.”

Sensory Nook is a specialized version of Nook, a product originally designed for the office to create an emotionally intelligent workspace for one-to-one and small group tasks, MLB.com reported. Its designers found that adding a few important enhancements can help create a space that can positively influence mood, reduce challenging behavior and lower anxiety levels.

“While the Nook is an emotionally intelligent workspace for one-to-one and group working, Sensory Nook enhancements can take it a step further,” said Nook designer and company founder David O’Coimin. “They create an encapsulated environment to positively influence mood, reduce challenging behavior and lower anxiety levels. It provides a calming refuge for social and emotional challenges. Sensory Nook is a practical way to reduce exclusion in the workspace, classroom and in public and it helps neurodiverse people cope with challenging environments and reduce anxiety.”

Sensory Nook was designed specifically with neurodiversity in mind. It is a highly inclusive, adaptable space particularly effective to address neurodiversity, including autism, ADHD and dyslexia. It provides a calming refuge for social and emotional challenges and is a practical way to reduce exclusion in public, workplaces and classrooms, according to MLB.com.

Sensory Nook is being installed in a number of stadiums around North America and the world. In addition to Citi Field, Sensory Nooks can be found at Allegiant Stadium, host of this year’s NFL Pro Bowl and the site of Super Bowl LVIII in 2024. Sensory Nooks are also being considered for stadiums in other Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and National Football League markets, as well as several Big Ten stadiums.

In addition to sporting venues, Sensory Nooks are already helping visitors to airports, Autism Centers, corporate campuses and schools across the country and around the world. Nook is a Certified Autism Resource, awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), a body that delivers the global standard for training and certification in the areas of autism and other cognitive disorders, MLB.com reported.

“The prevalent ‘one-size-fits-all’ nature of much of today’s environments is unsuited to many people," O’Coimin said. "Everybody is to some extent differently abled — ways of thinking and operating differ from one person to the next. This neurodiversity cannot be shoehorned into one type of space."

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