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Kent State University is leading the charge when it comes to Autism Awareness

Posted at 8:15 AM, Feb 15, 2020

KENT, Ohio — Officials at Kent State say they are committed to making the campus sensory friendly for anyone who may have sensory issues.

Kent State has about 50 students who have self-identified themselves on the Autism spectrum. According to the CDC, 1 in 59 people are diagnosed, so Kent State officials estimate the number is closer to about 500 people.

In December, Kent hosted its first sensory-friendly basketball game. There were accessible spaces for people with sensory issues, the noise and light levels were lower.

Now, at every game moving forward, staff is trained to spot anyone who may be feeling uncomfortable or anxious and take them to quiet rooms if they need it.

There are also sensory bags at every game. They contain noise canceling headphones, fidget toys and communication cards.

On Saturday, Feb. 15 Kent State is hosting an autism awareness game.

Under Armor is making an autism awareness jersey, there will be giveaways at the game and messages throughout with Autism awareness and education.

“We have a lot of students on campus who are on the spectrum that are taking advantages of a lot of our support services here,” said Todd Snider the assistant Vice President of Marketing Strategy for Kent State. “We want to make this bigger than the game of basketball, but we are going to use basketball as a venue to kind of promote all of the things that are happening here at Kent State.”

Discount tickets for the Feb. 15 game will be available through the Kent State ticket website by entering the code “autism” at checkout.

Kent State student organizations Autism Connections Kent, DREAM and Alpha Xi Delta will also be selling tickets at reduced prices, with half of the proceeds going back to these organizations and Alpha Xi Delta’s chosen philanthropy, Autism Speaks, when purchased using a specific code.