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NY Mets May Create a “Quiet Section” For Autistic Kids

NY Mets May Create a “Quiet Section” For Autistic Kids

 

In an effort to accommodate families with autistic children, the New York Mets are considering adding a “quiet section” of seats in Citi Field. Many autistic children and individuals have extreme sensitivities to sounds and noise and having a designated quiet section might make the experience of watching a baseball game not only easier on them and their families, but simply possible. A Mets official told the New York Daily News that the team got the idea after designating a quiet section on May 6 as part of the team’s Autism Awareness Day.

To find out if families might be interested, the Mets sent out a survey this week to about a thousand Mets fans, with questions about music, the scoreboard and “other parts of the Citi Field experience,” says the New York Daily News:

The Mets are considering adding a designated ‘quiet’ seating section with lower volume PA announcements and no music or cheerleading. How likely would you be to purchase tickets in that section?

However, the Mets neglected to explain why they were considering creating a quiet section and a report about the survey openly mocked the idea. Was not mentioning that the quiet section would be for autistic children just an oversight, or did team officials hesitate to mention their rationale?

Team officials say they are still considering the results from the questionnaire before making their decision.

On MinorLeagueBall.com, John Sickel explained why he embraced the idea:

This is something I would like to see. My youngest son Jackson, age 6, is moderately-to-severely autistic and has a difficult time in crowded environments with lots of people and noise. We generally avoid crowds, no choice really…he’s never been to a baseball game or a movie, for example. The grocery store is tough enough. If there were some sort of family-oriented section with accommodations for autistic and special needs kids and their families, it would make it a lot more likely that we could attend traditional family events that are often not feasible for us.

A number of theaters and movie cinemas have been offering “sensory friendly” productions, specifically geared to accommodate autistic children by making it all right for them to get up during a performance, talk or vocalize and such. Accommodations such as not turning the lights of a theater on and off can make a big difference. The proposed quiet section at Citi Field  will, it is hoped, do just what Sickel says, enabling autistic children and children with disabilities and their families to be able to  ”attend traditional family events that are often not feasible for us.”

But what the New York Daily News calls the “mean” response to the Mets’ survey shows how far we have to go in winning broader acceptance from society about accommodations for those whose needs are different. Not everyone who goes to baseball game can handle hearing the roar of the crowd; I confess to not being a big fan of baseball but the few games I’ve gone to, I’ve been especially struck at how loud the announcers and music are. Others with sound and noise sensitivities could also consider purchasing tickets for the quiet section which would include second-deck, left-field seats. The Mets should at least give a quiet section a chance so some fans who are not able to enjoy the game can give it a try.

 

Related Care2 Coverage

Traveling With an Autistic Child in Holland, Italy, France (Video)

Getting Sensible About Sensory Processing Disorder

Broadway Offering Two More Autism-Friendly Shows

 

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Photo by Ray Colon (Ray's Blog)

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35 comments

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8:09AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

It's not just autistic people who would benefit from quiet seating. I have a severe constant migraine that has lasted 14.5 years, and loud sounds are my biggest form of aggravation. So this could definitely help people with migraines too. I bet there are people with other medical conditions who would benefit too!

7:25AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

A very good concept and I hope it comes to fruition. Thanks Kristina for this article of good news.

5:49AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

this is a real development for autistic children and those with sensory difficulties, I hope they follow through and many more follow.

2:40PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

I hope they do this. Autistic children are not the only ones who experience sensory overload.

1:10PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

Thank you Mets for your commitment to assist fans with autism and other special needs to be able to be a part of the wonderful world of baseball. There is so much that we can share with folks that only need a little compassion...it would mean so much to them and their families. I applaud your vision to make baseball accessible to everyone--- you will never see more devoted and dedicated fans as the ones you are helping today!

12:47PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

Excellent.

10:58AM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

I have a kid with autism; and he cannot go to a parade, fireworks, loud noises, and the sound of a buzzer to cut your hair. I am a cub fan,and wish all ball parks would have this. This would also help others with hearing issues as well, or anybody else with other issues. If this happens, it would be great and I think more people would pay for this than the public thinks. To who ever thought of this, I thank you, you have a very good idea, and I hope it works.

8:53PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

I hope they get this done and hope that many other places do it too.
I have a very sensitive system and try to carry earplugs.
But if you're in church and someone decides to do a hymn on a trumpet,it's embarrassing to be seen putting them in!

2:17PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

While my regards are with Autistic children but this one i want to see. It will never happen. If it does i will have to see it to believe it.

12:52PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

Innovative and caring steps whose time may have come. Bravo Mets!

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