The World Cup is a beautiful opportunity for soccer fans to witness their favorite teams live in action. But, for those with sensory sensitivities, navigating the crowd and all the overwhelming stimuli that come with attending a live match can be challenging.

That’s why Qatar has designed sensory rooms for fans of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. These dedicated spaces are equipped with features to help ease the effects of sensory overload, allowing fans to enjoy the atmosphere of a World Cup game.

Sensory modification Incorporated

The rooms feature low lighting, soundproofing, adjustable seating, and calming activities like aromatherapy and tactile surfaces. Additionally, attendants are on hand to provide support as needed. It’s an excellent way for all soccer fans to ensure they can join in the festivities.

According to Raana Smith, a local representative for the World Cup in Qatar and co-founder of Sensory Souk, “These sensory rooms are almost like a hug” and are an invaluable resource for fans with sensory needs. She believes every fan should have the opportunity to experience the joy and excitement of a World Cup game regardless of physical immobility, mental health, speech difficulty, learning disability, or sensory sensitivities.

The dimly lighted rooms also feature soft cushions and stuffed toys that can help comfort those with sensory sensitivities. The lights are warm and soothing in contrast to the bright and loud stadium atmosphere, allowing fans with sensory issues to enjoy a game in peace. The wall texture and color of the room change slightly to reduce sensory overload.

What’s the Objective?

Alison Saraf, another co-founder of Sensory Souk, is pleased with Qatar’s progress in creating an inclusive sporting experience for fans. She says. Ideally, they want to Ignite a passion for a new sport in young children and have as many people enjoy the game as possible. The Initiative for Creating Sensory Rooms at the 2022 Qatar World Cup is pioneered by FIFA and the host country’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.

Apart from Qatar, many other countries worldwide have also been introducing similar initiatives to ensure that everyone is included in sporting events. For example, the MLS, NBA, and the NFL  in the United States have created unique rooms for fans with sensory needs.

Future advancement

Dr. Julian Maha, the co-founder of KultureCity, says this is a significant step forward in broadening the appeal of sports to ensure everyone can experience the World Cup. Julian adds that autistic people withdraw from significant sports events not because they don’t like the event but because of their need for a calming environment. And this is precisely what these sensory rooms provide.  He hopes these accommodation initiatives will catalyze other countries to introduce similar initiatives and create an inclusive sporting environment for all fans.

In Nevada, sensory rooms are also highly praised for their effectiveness. It has enabled hundreds of fans to join in the celebration and ensure that everyone is included in sports events.

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