As part of HUST’s and the Disabled Supporters Association’s commitment to Autism Acceptance Month, we have developed some sensory kits to be available for supporters to use on match days.
The kits were developed with the aim of helping young autistic supporters to be more comfortable when attending games. Autistic supporters may struggle with under and over-sensitivity to light, sound, taste or touch and they can also experience social anxiety and repetitive behaviours. We’ve included items that can be useful when these factors might make enjoying the match difficult.
Rebecca Welch from the North East Autism Society, who HUST and HUDSA are partnering with throughout the campaign, explained a bit more:
“The contents of the sensory packs can help reduce unwanted stimuli and decrease anxiety for the person using it, and it will also help decrease the parents’ anxiety knowing their child has the kit. It will encourage more families to attend knowing they have the kit to use as a support for their child.”
The kits are in a draw-string bag and contain a colouring book, felt-tip pens, a stretchy fidget noodle toy, a flashing spikey ball, a sensory ‘chew’ necklace, a stress ball, a small beanbag, and a tangle fidget toy. We’re very grateful to the North East Autism Society for the expert guidance and support they gave us in understanding the best things to buy.
The kits are available to hire from the Corner Flag before each game starting with Good Friday’s clash with Port Vale. We just ask that anyone wanting to use one provides a £5 refundable deposit when you collect it before the game which will be returned when you return the kit following the match. HUST and HUDSA thank our friends at the Supporters Association for agreeing to offer the Corner Flag as a base for the kits. We know that their committee members, and others, will make sure anyone picking up a kit will be made very welcome.
The kits are being funded by HUSTs ongoing community ticket incentive which will also buy match tickets for the game against Swindon Town on 23 April for service users of the North East Autism Society. You can donate to this fund here.