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A 'quiet space' in a not-so-quiet venue

The “Quiet Space”is a sensory room that was unveiled in 2017 as Quicken Loans Arena became the first NBA arena to be certified as a sensory inclusive environment.

CLEVELAND — In a not-so-quiet venue, sits a “quiet place.”

“You hear that,” said 8-year-old Dominic Bonavita. “’You can hear nothing.”

Bonavita spent Sunday afternoon as a tour guide to give WKYC a look into the “Quiet Space,” a sensory room that was unveiled in 2017 as Quicken Loans Arena became the first NBA arena to be certified as a sensory inclusive environment. Since then, more than a dozen teams have joined in to offer a sensory inclusive program, serving those with autism, dementia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

RELATED: The Q debuts first 'Sensory inclusive area'

“It helps with all the noise and stuff,” said Bonavita. 

Bonavita is on the autism spectrum. His father is Anthony Bonavita, senior vice president of facility operations at the Q. The team at the arena responded to concerns from fans related the availability of sensory inclusive options for children and adults. It ultimately led to the team joining forces with KultureCity to create a sensory inclusive environment. 

We can provide elements for our guests, not only here in the sensory room, but also in the arena that can combat that over-stimulation,” said Patrick Scanlon, senior director of guest services.

The Q offers sensory bags for guests that are packed with fidget toys, weighted lap pads and sound dampening headphones. If needed, guests are also permitted to leave and return with a stamped ticket.

Scanlon said it’s all part of a larger initiative to open a space fit for everyone.

“We know we live by ‘all for one,’ but we know ‘all for one,’ means all,” said Scanlon. “That’s what we want to do here.”

The sensory room is open to guests for every event that is held at the arena. Click here to learn more about the sensory inclusive program.

Several other venues in Northeast Ohio are now offering sensory inclusive programs including the Akron Zoo and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

RELATED: Akron Zoo adapts to become sensory inclusive

RELATED: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame launches sensory inclusive program

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