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Wings hosting second annual Autism Awareness Day

Apr 12, 2019

Credit Emily Hunt for WXXI News

The Rochester Red Wings are hosting their second annual Autism Awareness Day at Frontier Field on Saturday. 

There will be some changes at the ballpark to create an environment that's more welcoming for people who have autism.

Volume levels will be lowered throughout the entire stadium, and in-game production using sound effects and video board displays will be kept to a minimum.  Fans will also be asked to use blue pom-poms instead of noisemakers. 

Jessica Joanis, senior coordinator of field development for Autism Speaks, said just a few changes can make a big difference for those on the spectrum.

"It's a great way for families to come out and enjoy something that might be a little bit too sensory overload for somebody who's living with autism," she said.

It's also a good way to educate the community at large, she said.

"There's definitely a big awareness piece as well," Joanis explained, "to understand what it is that somebody living with autism goes through and what their challenges may be."

Autism Up will be handing out educational pamphlets in the concourse.

The Red Wings have designated a section exclusively for guests who have family members with autism, and a 'safe zone' will be open throughout the game for children who need a quiet place to go.

The Red Wings are hosting the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at 1:05 p.m.

This story was produced by WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, focusing on disabilities and inclusion.