NEW ORLEANS – The Audubon Aquarium is becoming the first aquarium in the nation to be certified as sensory inclusive and to celebrate, the aquarium will hold an event on Sunday.
The event, called Sensory Sunday, will take place on February 25 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. with partners KultureCity and former NFL Pro Bowl running back, Tiki Barber.
The aquarium will feature trained staff, sensory bags with noise-canceling headphones, weighted blankets and an ID card for non-verbal autistic children. The aquarium will also feature quiet spaces, a reading corner, animal encounters and six sensory stations.
“The beauty about that is that families no longer have to feel they have to stay at home, if their son or daughter or someone else in their family can’t be out because they feel sensory overloaded,” Barber said.
Barker’s godson was diagnosed with autism about five years ago. He says around the same time, he met Doctors Julian and Michele Maha and learned more about KultureCity.
“I didn’t know how to help my friend who was going through a very difficult time with his son and this became a way for me to outreach," Barber said.
Barber said that KultureCity hopes to make as many public spaces as sensory inclusive as possible.
“What this sensory inclusive initiative does is makes all spaces comfortable so there is an understanding that this isn’t you being a bad parent, this is an issue that we know how to deal with and we are going to make you as comfortable as possible,” Baker said.