Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson

The sights and sounds of a Major League Baseball game are something most of us have come to expect as part of the overall ball park experience. But for children living with autism, all of that can be too much to handle. Now Major League Baseball teams are trying to make sure those youngsters and their families can come out and enjoy a game. It’s a program started four years ago by the league and the advocacy group “Autism Speaks.”

Later this month, the White Sox will host an excited group at U.S. Cellular Field for what they hope will be an enjoyable occasion. And the team is gearing up to make them feel right at home. Things will definitely be a bit different at the Cell during a special game on “Autism Awareness Day.”

On June 12, 2016, the White Sox will have sections reserved just for autistic youngsters and their loved ones. For example, on that day the music and the PA system won’t be as loud in that area as they would normally would be. “Sometimes that can be too much for our kids. They are also going to have a quiet room available so that if the kids get too overstimulated.  A lot of our kids have hypersensitivity to sensory inputs, so it’s important that they make those modifications,” says Colleen Shinn of Autism Speaks.

Perhaps the biggest change will be what happens after the White Sox score a home run and again after they win the game. “We are going to substitute our fireworks, which could be alarming to some with our video boards. With the new video boards that we have we are going to be able to create a situation where people can see the fireworks so that they don’t have to be startled or concerned about fireworks going off,” says Brooks Boyer, Senior Vice President of the Chicago White Sox.

The White Sox organization will be displaying special messages about autism awareness on the big screens throughout the contest and ballpark employees will be handing out educational information. Autism specialists will also be on hand to answer questions and to assist the families on that day.

The Autism Awareness game is Sunday, June 12, 2016 at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox will be taking on the Kansas City Royals at 1:10 p.m. 
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