News • December 28, 2019

Promoting positivity: Osceola Library System now sensory inclusive

KultureCity has partnered with The Osceola Library System to make each library location and all of the programs and events that the libraries host to be sensory inclusive.

This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all patrons with a sensory issue that visit.

Part of the certification process was for all library staff to receive training by leading medical professionals on how to recognize those patrons with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones, fidget tools, and verbal cue cards will be available to all patrons at the library who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Also available upon request is a weighted lap pad.

Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, post traumatic stress disorder and other similar conditions.

One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which can be a part of the environment in a venue like the library when programs or events occur or other times of high activity. With its new certification, the Osceola Library System is now better prepared to assist patrons with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when attending any program or event.

Prior to visiting the libraries, families can download the free KultureCity App where one can view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. Also on the App is the Social Story, which will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying a program or event at one of the libraries.

“Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that the Osceola Library System is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing,” said Dr. Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity.

The Osceola Library System is the first library system in Florida to become certified Sensory Inclusive, and hopes to continue to meet the needs of our community in significant ways, library officials said.

KultureCity is a nonprofit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs; not just those with autism. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 350 sensory inclusive venues in four countries; this includes special events such as: NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts:

NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. Recently, KultureCity was awarded one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 by FastCompany.

Related Links: Read the story on Osceola News-Gazette