Individuals with autism, anxiety, dementia, PTSD, or other similar conditions may face sensory sensitivities or experience challenges with sensory regulation at events. Because of these potential challenges, Overland Park Convention Center has partnered with non-profit KultureCity to become a Sensory Inclusive Certified venue. KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for its resources and change in the community for those with sensory needs.

Overland Park is the first convention center in the world to open a KultureCity-approved sensory room for neurodiverse, autistic, and disabled attendees.

The space is located at the Exhibition Hall A entrance on the upper level.

Sensory Room Benefits

Reduced Lighting & Noise

Two of the most common sensory triggers during large events are an excess of lighting and noise. Medical professionals created our KultureCity sensory room to reduce both of these and create a quiet, soothing atmosphere for guests.

Permission-Only Entry

The sensory room is not open to the public; only someone with permission may enter the room. This is an added measure of creating a safe and comfortable space for those using the room to regroup. Guests are permitted to spend 15 minutes in the room unless permission is otherwise given.

Sensory Calming Tools

While a guest is in the sensory room, they have multiple options to help them feel calmer and more relaxed. They can sit in the comfortable bean bags, enjoy the lighting and bubble wall visuals, or use some of the tactile art to help them feel better. We also offer KultureCity Sensory Inclusion Bags for guests to borrow for free during an event.

What’s in our sensory room?

  • Bubble Walls

    Two bubble walls act as an engaging and relaxing visual for guests to enjoy. White noise is created when air pumps through the bubble panel. Not only can guests enjoy the soothing sounds of flowing water, but it also helps to drown out other noises.

  • Custom Tactile Art Piece

    One of the highlights of the room is the custom tactile art piece created by an artist with autism. This piece is made to be touched, with a beautiful surface that changes in texture and color.

  • Visual Touch Panel

    Visual light panels from Nanoleaf are interactive and give the room an inviting atmosphere of soothing colors and color variation.

  • Activity Panels

    Four activity panels are displayed for another soothing activity. The panels encourage guests to use the different available movements and engage with the art pieces. Activity panels are used to productively distract and occupy attention, giving the mind a fun mental break and therefore making it easier to pay attention after the interaction.

  • Cozy Seating

    Guests can take time to relax in bean bag chairs from Yogibo as they enjoy the room.

Signage at OPCC

To help guests understand where to go for quiet areas, headphone zones, to obtain a sensory bag, and more, we have signage posted throughout our venues. These signs help guests easily identify places they can go when they are feeling overwhelmed or when they want to pick up a sensory bag.

  • Quiet Area

    This sign marks locations that are generally quiet/non-busy areas. The quiet area rooms are located outside of Ballroom A/A1 and Ballroom C.

  • Headphone Zone

    Headphone Zone signs mark loud, popular areas within the building. These are high-traffic spaces where louder noise is most common.

  • Sensory Bags Available Here

    These signs help guests easily find pickup locations to use this resource. You can also borrow a sensory bag from the security office or ask any staff member to bring you one.

  • Sensory Inclusive Location

    Perhaps our most important signage is for Sensory Inclusive Location. This sign lets all guests know that this building has tools and resources in place to foster sensory inclusion and create a more comfortable experience for all.

Overland Park Convention Center is

Sensory Inclusive Certified

Our team obtained our Sensory Inclusive™ Certification in August of 2021 from KultureCity®, and continues to be recertified each year.

This certification is given to venues that are trained and trusted advocates for those with sensory needs. Over 50% of our staff is now trained on implementing these resources and strategies.

Our venue staff trained with leading medical professionals. They learned important information on how to recognize attendees with sensory needs and how to handle sensory overload scenarios. Oftentimes, neurotypical individuals are not acutely aware of the needs of individuals who experience sensory overload.

As an event organization, we saw a unique opportunity to help make a lasting impact on our community through this certification. Our goal is to improve the comfort and enjoyment of our events for those with sensory needs.

We recognize that large gatherings or events can be difficult for those who experience sensory challenges. Our certified staff are trained by KultureCity to notice and help event attendees who may be overwhelmed at an event.

KultureCity App & Social Story

Prior to attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity App. Here, they can view what sensory features are available, where they can access them, and other helpful information to learn what to expect while at our venue and other certified venues.

Along with other helpful features, the KultureCity App includes a Social Story component. Users can click through the photos of the venue and learn about what their visit to the convention center will be like in this step-by-step walkthrough.

The Social Story covers everything from entering the building and finding their event, to interacting with our staff and finding quiet areas. The goal of Social Story is to help guests feel more prepared by providing this in-depth information to them before they attend an event with us.

Looking for a sensory inclusive events venue?

Contact our team today to see what sensory features are available at the Overland Park Convention Center. Learn how we can help make your event more sensory inclusive.

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