GREENVILLE, SC - There’s a new way for fans sensitive to loud sounds or bright lights to enjoy a show comfortably at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
With space for as many as 14 people, the suite was designed to be a safe haven for those with sensory needs, particularly those on the autism spectrum.
The suite is decorated with calming gray walls, large and comfortable seating, beanbag chairs, and sound and light dimming glass so families can watch the show in a private and quiet room. There is also a “de-escalation” area in the suite with a privacy curtain and calming accessories and lights.
Project Hope Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Lisa Lane says taking her son Colby to shows in the past has been nothing but challenging, and that this new suite is a game-changer for other families with children on the autism spectrum.
“We struggle with sound, we struggle with people being next to us, we struggle with meltdowns,” she says. “It was always a gamble. We'll buy a ticket and hope it works out. To have a space now that I know, if we come we're going to enjoy the whole event and we're going to enjoy it start to finish and together, is something special.”
The Project Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides services for the autism community, worked with the Bon Secours Wellness Arena’s General Manager Beth Paul and other therapists to design the room.
“It started with conversation, and us listening,” Paul says. “We know that we’re on the very forefront, maybe the first!”
Families were able to test the room during a Kelly Clarkson concert Saturday, March 30th at the Well. Clarkson praised the suite during her show as a unique example for venues worldwide.
“All you venues across the world, this is the coolest thing to be inclusive, it's a sensory suite,” she said. “Everybody gets to enjoy the show!"
The “Sensory Suite” on the main floor level is now taking reservations for the Eric Church show on April 26th and 27th and New Kids on the Block on July 10th. For more information, click here.