The Seahawks opened the A-OK Sensory Room at Lumen Field in 2019 in order to better support guests with sensory needs. On Friday, the Seahawks announced room updates, more training for event staff, and a new name for the sensory room, which will now be known as Ben’s Room in honor of Ben Schneider, son of John and Traci Schneider, who was diagnosed with autism at age 3.
As was the case with the original Sensory Room, Ben’s Room will continue to provide a safe and quiet environment for guests at Lumen Field for those who need a respite from the noise and excitement that comes with a Seahawks gameday experience.
The Sensory Room at Lumen Field, originally led by Traci Schneider, was just one of the many ways Schneiders helped support autistic families. Through the Benn Fund, which Tracy and John launched in 2012, Schneider has helped raise more than $4.9 million and has provided more than 2,900 grants to families affected by autism.
“It’s so unbelievable that the gift of Ben has been given in our lifetime, and it has clearly opened up our whole world,” Tracy said. “And then we have the opportunity to do a lot for others. And it’s very special because we live that life as well, so we know what that sounds like and we know how hard it is. And to be able to reach people financially, but also provide support, like, ‘” Hey, you are not alone in this. There are many people going through this as well. And we understand that.” That’s why we decided to kind of share our story, so people felt that they weren’t alone, that they were heard, and that others were there to help and support them through their journey as well.”
To oversee the renovation of the sensory room, the Seahawks partnered with KultureCity, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization in sensory access and admission for people with invisible disabilities. The newly redesigned Ben’s Room is fitted with 100% recycled soundproofing carpet along the floor and walls, along with new activity boards, Yogibo bean bags, Nanoleaf visual light panels, and Sparkle Interactive Light by NunoErin, which includes Therapy fun furniture embedded with soft glowing lights that respond to motion, and bubble walls.
The room also features original artwork by Ben Schneider. As part of the project, KultureCity has also facilitated training for more than 400 gameday employees at Lumen Field. Led by medical professionals, the training teaches staff how to recognize guests and fans with sensory needs, as well as how to handle sensory overload.
“We are proud to rename Lumen Field’s sensory room ‘Ben’s Room’ in recognition of the incredible work that Traci and John Schneider continue to do in our community supporting young people and families with autism,” said Karen Wilkins Mickey, Vice President of Diversity at Seahawks. fairness and inclusion. “We know gameday game noise can be confusing for many guests. My son hasn’t attended the Seahawks yet due to sensory challenges related to autism, and I hope inclusive rooms like this can change that for him in the future. We are grateful to our partners at KultureCity for their efforts. in helping us provide an improved space of calm and serenity for anyone who needs it.”
Ben’s Room is located in the Guest Services Center on Southwest Field Plaza and is open to all full stadium events. Children using the room must be accompanied by an adult. Fans can also check out free sensory kits at the SW Guest Services Center location in Field Plaza, just south of the Pro Store. The kit includes noise canceling headphones, earplugs and sensory toys.
The renovations will make Ben’s Room a better place for sensory fans to find a quiet, relaxing place in a gameday, but another big element in the new changes is training the gameplay crew so they know how to recognize guests through the senses. Need.
“This is very valuable, especially for parents and of course a child or an adult (with sensory needs), because it’s hard to go into public with someone who is going to be seen as not typical and you get to stare and you get to look just get in shape,” Tracy Schneider said. A little understanding is huge. And that’s something John and I have talked about a lot over the years about not just creating awareness, but creating understanding. That understanding is tremendous, because then you have additional knowledge that there might be something else going on and you don’t fully absorb it.”