|Minutes before entering the Bullpen Entrance|
I grew up in Queens and lived within walking distance of Citi Field. Though it was Shea Stadium back then. And while I’m not a fan of baseball (it bores me to tears!) I love Citi Field. It’s a beautiful ball park and whether you like baseball or not – you’re bound to have fun. We went last September for the first time and I knew that I wanted to return. When Norrin’s school was selling tickets to the Autism Awareness Day – I bought tickets for us. I bought the cheapest tickets because I knew we wouldn’t sit through the game or even stay the entire time.
The ballpark opened at 11:10 for autism families. And we got to do a craft at the Queens Museum table. Kicking the Spectrum and Yoga by Hosh Yoga were there but we wanted to walk around the stadium. I treated Norrin to Cracker Jacks and we all indulged in Shake Shack burgers and fries (Next time, we’re definitely going for the Pat LeFrieda counter). And for dessert – Fried Dough. We went into the gift shops, the museum and sang the National Anthem, we watched a little of the game. And by 2pm, Norrin was done. So we left. It’s not about watching the game, it’s about the ballpark experience.
Is a place like Citi Field sensory overload for kids with autism? Of course. But Citi Field did make accommodations. The Left Field Landing seats was exclusively reserved for guests with autistic family members (who purchased tickets). The volume was lowered in this section and other fan-friendly adjustments were made during this game. And a “Cozy Corner” was set up during the game for children in need of a quiet reprieve from the game. There was even a social story available for parents to download. (I’m not sure how this worked out because we didn’t purchase Left Field Landing Seats, we didn’t visit the Cozy Corner and we didn’t download the book.)
I am grateful that Citi Field made the effort to make it as autism/sensory friendly as possible. It’s nice that they recognize special needs families and opened their doors for us. Citi Field is a massive stadium, it’s a public space – it would have been impossible to make the entire building “sensory friendly” but they did what they could to make a day at the ballpark a little bit easier.
|Autism Awareness Mets Swag|