April is Autism Awareness month, and MGM Resorts International recognized the occasion in a big way.
In partnership with the nonprofit organization KultureCity, MGM announced plans to make its major Las Vegas arenas, theaters and event centers sensory inclusive for individuals with autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and other sensory-sensitive conditions.
KultureCity, which has helped make 250 event venues in the U.S., Canada and Australia certified sensory inclusive, is working with the following MGM venues in 2019:
T-Mobile Arena became sensory inclusive in February 2019.
The remaining event venues will be certified by Memorial Day weekend (May 2019), according to Uma Srivastava, COO of KultureCity. Each venue will be equipped with sensory kits that include noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads for individuals who may feel overwhelmed by the event environment.
For attendees with autism and other sensory issues, noisy and crowded events like hockey games, concerts and conventions can be overstimulating, sometimes causing them to avoid these events altogether. That’s why making these events accessible is so significant.
“Imagine your loved one not being able to go out and enjoy a sporting event, a concert or a convention, things that some of us take for granted,” Srivastava said. “We want to make sure that everyone can enjoy those events and that individuals feel more comfortable attending.”
Training Hospitality Staff to Accommodate Sensory Needs
As part of the sensory inclusive certification process, MGM employees go through a comprehensive online and in-person training with KultureCity to learn about how to best serve guests who have autism, post-traumatic stress disorder or other sensory needs.
For planners organizing big events in Las Vegas, considering all who may attend your meetings and events, including individuals with sensory needs and disabilities, should be top of mind. The improved accessibility of these venues for large-scale meetings and after-hours activities for all attendees and their family members will make those events even more inclusive.
“MGM Resorts has long been committed to creating moments that can’t be found elsewhere, but we are not succeeding at our mission if the experience is not accessible to everyone,” said George Kliavkoff, president of entertainment and sports for MGM, in a press release.
“Entertainment is critical to the human experience and we are committed to breaking down barriers so that the experience is accessible to all,” he added.
[Read This Next: Beyond ADA—A Disability Accommodation Checklist for Events]