Sedgwick County Zoo certified ‘sensory inclusive’
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A new initiative at the Sedgwick County Zoo is designed to “promote and accommodate a positive experience for all guests with a sensory issue.” The Sedgwick County Zoo said it’s partnered with KultureCity to make the zoo and its programs more sensory-inclusive.
Those with sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensor regulation can often include people with conditions such as autism, dementia or PTSD. KultureCity is a nonprofit dedicated to helping them, creating more than 350 sensory-inclusive venues in four countries.
“One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over stimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a venue like the zoo,” the Sedgwick County Zoo explained in a news release on the new initiative.
With the new certification, the zoo said it is better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities, helping to make sure they are comfortable during the visit.
“The certification process entailed the staff at the Sedgwick County Zoo being trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize those guests and fans with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation,” the zoo explained. “Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards (produced in conjunction with Boardmaker) and weighted lap pads will also be available to all guests at the zoo who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. These guests will also be able to have use of a dedicated sensory room designed by medical professionals for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment.”
Before visiting the Sedgwick County Zoo, families can download the free KultureCity app where they can view the sensory features available and where they can access them. The app also provides a preview of what guests can expect at the zoo or with participating in one of its programs.
“To know that families will be able to attend the Zoo, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment. Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that the Sedgwick County Zoo is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.” said KultureCity Co-Founder Dr. Julian Maha.
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