Fishers Parks has partnered with KultureCity to ensure that the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater (NPD AMP), Fishers AgriPark, Fishers Maker Playground, and special events at the city’s 25 parks are sensory inclusive and welcoming for all. The KultureCity initiative promotes an accommodating and positive experience for all guests. Fishers has also taken the next step and will make the weeklong Spark!Fishers festival, kicking off today, sensory inclusive by having trained staff on site, sensory bags available, sensory viewing locations for the parade and fireworks, and KultureCity’s SAVE (Sensory Activation Vehicle).
Fishers Parks staff underwent training by leading medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory- overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise--canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards (produced in conjunction with Boardmaker), and weighted lap pads, are now available to all guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment.
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD, and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a venue. With its new certification, the staff at Fishers Parks is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when attending any event.
Along with training and sensory bags, Fishers Parks also installed an assisted listening system at the NPD AMP, with assisted listening devices available to check out for those who are hard of hearing or use a hearing aid. Fishers Parks will also provide a sensory quiet zone for major events at the NPD AMP for guests with sensory- processing disorders. There also are accessible seating areas at the NPD AMP for guests with limited mobility, ADA accessible picnic tables at the NPD AMP and Fishers AgriPark, and additional ADA parking spots available for large events at the NPD AMP.
“I am so proud that Fishers Parks is working towards making our spaces and events inclusive and welcoming to all individuals in our community, whether at large events like Spark!Fishers, or passively at the city’s many parks and facilities,” said Fishers Parks Director Sarah Sandquist. “Through the partnership with KultureCity and the sensory-inclusive certification, we can ensure that individuals of all abilities can enjoy all of Fishers Parks’ facilities, events, and services.”
Spark!Fishers, ignited by First Internet Bank, returns in 2021 with an expanded, weeklong celebration from Tuesday, June 22, to Saturday, June 26. The event will kick off with a concert on Tuesday, June 22, and the celebration will continue all week, ending with a Street Fair festival, parade, and firework show on Saturday, June 26, at the Municipal Complex, celebrating our vibrant community. This year’s theme, Hometown Heroes, will honor Fishers residents who have served our country and our community, from the U.S. Armed Forces to the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity app on the App Store or Google Play, where one can view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. Also on the App is the Social Story, which provides a preview of what to expect at the NPD AMP, Fishers AgriPark, Maker Playground, and all Fisher Parks’ signature events.
“We are thrilled that Fishers Parks has obtained the sensory inclusive certification; this certification will ensure that all individuals will be able to enjoy an event hosted by Fishers Parks. Not only that, making the Spark!Fishers event inclusive will ensure that those with sensory needs will be able to participate in all the activities. After months of isolation, we are gathering (safely), and for those with added anxiety, the SAVE will provide a great level of comfort,” said Uma Srivastava, COO of KultureCity.
Learn more about accessibility at Fishers Parks’ events and facilities at playfishers.com/Accessibility, and find more info about accessibility at Spark!Fishers at sparkfishers.com/Accessibility.