As part of #NeurodiversityCelebrationWeek, we spoke to Bears' spinner Danny Briggs about how the new Sensory Rooms at Edgbaston are helping his young autistic son come and watch him play.
Two new sensory spaces – in the South Stand and RES Wyatt Stand – were opened ahead of last season as part of our Edgbaston for Everyone inclusivity pledge.
Both rooms are fitted out with colourful fibre optics, bubble tubes, rotating images, games and soft furnishings to provide a calming environment for families and children that need to get away from the hustle and bustle of a match day or event.
Edgbaston was the first cricket ground in the country to introduce Sensory Rooms.
Briggs’ young son Stan is one of the children who’ve enjoyed spending time in the sensory rooms.
The eight-year-old is diagnosed autistic with a PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) profile. It means he struggles with routine and everyday expectations that other children and families take for granted.
Without the sensory rooms Stan would struggle to watch his daddy play for the Bears.
“If it wasn’t for the Sensory Rooms we probably wouldn’t bring Stan to matches,” said Bears spinner Briggs. “He might be able to spend an hour, at most, in the stands before needing time and space to calm down and regulate.
“As parents of an autistic child we’re always conscious that if Stan becomes restless in the stands then his behaviour could impact on other spectators.
“The sensory rooms provide comfort that, should we need to, there is a relaxing space nearby for him to explore and happily play away. And the big glass-fronted space means my partner Linsey and other family members can continue watching the cricket.”