Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) has become the first convention center in the world to become Certified Sensory Inclusive. To accommodate guests with sensory processing challenges and provide an inclusive and seamless experience, GCCC teamed up with KultureCity to improve the abilities of the property and staff.
KultureCity is a leading non-profit organization that is nationally recognized for its resources to revolutionize the community for those with sensory needs. It was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2019 by FastCompany. More than 300 sensory inclusive venues in four countries have been created by KultureCity.
“We are proud to be at the forefront of many innovative programs, and making all of our guests feel welcome, safe and accommodated is at the top of the list,” said GCCC Director of Culture & Training Amy Huggins. “We are especially proud to partner with KultureCity to receive additional training and resources to become a better host to our guests with special sensory needs.”
Those who experience sensory sensitives and sensory regulation challenges most often include guests with autism, dementia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other health concerns affected by noise and overstimulation.
To become certified, GCCC staff were trained by medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and handle sensory-overload situations. Those who completed the training and online quizzes successfully were awarded certificates.
In exchange for a valid photo identification card, guests with sensory challenges can borrow a Sensory Bag at one of the GCCC’s Guest Service Centers—in the South Cafe & Marketplace and across from Exhibit Hall A. The Sensory Bags include: special KultureCity VIP identification badges to wear, noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads to comfort guests who may feel overwhelmed in a fast-paced environment. Guests also have access to quiet zones if they need additional comfort.
Meeting attendees can prepare for their visit by downloading the KultureCity mobile app. The app provides an overview of the sensory features at GCCC and a social story that offers a preview of what they can expect when they arrive.
“To know that families will be able to attend events at the GCCC with their loved ones with sensory challenges is truly a heartwarming moment,” said Dr. Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity. “Our communities are what shape our lives, and to know that the GCCC is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”