Lions kick off program to make games more autism friendly

CFL team partners with Pacific Autism Family Network for Gamechangers program

BC Lions games just got a little bit friendlier for people on the autism spectrum.

Pacific Autism Family Network has partnered with the CFL team to create the Gamechangers program with the aim of providing fans on the autism spectrum with a more comfortable experience.

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The program gives families who are part of the Pacific Autism Family Network the opportunity to request tickets and be seated in a thoughtfully selected reserved area, as well as receive toolkits for each individual with autism, or a related disorder, attending.

The toolkit contains items to help make the game more user friendly and includes noise-cancelling headphones, earplugs, sensory toys and a visual schedule for game day.

“There are so many families in B.C. who unfortunately cannot attend stadium events because it can be too overwhelming for our loved ones with autism or related disorders,” said the network's co-founder, Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia. “We have such an incredible community partner in the BC Lions; they truly want to ensure an inclusive and fun experience for everyone, and together, we are taking steps to make that happen.”

Families that are a part of Pacific Autism Family Network, will be notified of upcoming BC Lions’ home games and given the opportunity to attend as part of the Gamechangers program. Families who attend will be sent their tickets in advance, along with instructions for arrival, and a separate visual schedule that supports the lead-up to game day.

“As anyone in our organization will tell you, football is family,” said Lions vice-president of business George Chayka. “We are both proud and honoured to have an opportunity to join with the Pacific Autism Family Network and bring the joy, excitement and fun of BC Lions football to those who would not normally find it possible to attend. Our community is stronger when we go the extra yard to be inclusive and the Gamechangers program is a perfect example of what we can do together.”

@JessicaEKerr

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