Sunshine Coast Lightning is encouraging inclusion in sport after implementing a sensory room for all Suncorp Super Netball home games this year at UniSC Arena.

In partnership with Your Capability Store — a Sunshine Coast family business that provides a range of disability supplies and equipment — the room will provide a safe and inclusive environment for those with sensory needs to watch the games live.

Danielle Hockley, owner of Your Capability Store, said she hopes the Sensory Room will benefit anyone in the community who requires a safe space to enjoy a Lightning home game.

“The inclusion of a Sensory Room gives the parents / carers an opportunity to take their loved ones out to experience what we love doing — attending sporting matches and being part of our greater community. The room will provide a safe area for sensory diverse individuals to get the support they require,” she said.

“As active Members of Lightning for the last few years we have always wanted this type of space for our own daughter who would benefit greatly as she requires a safe space to regulate her emotions/sensory needs before and during games. It’s our passion to attend this type of event as a family and not exclude our daughter, and we are hoping this will benefit other families in similar situations.”

Patrons and carers do not need to register to purchase dedicated tickets, but can simply enter the room on the day if needed. There will also be a carer permanently based inside the room to provide additional support.

Lightning mid-courter and qualified Occupational Therapist, Mahalia Cassidy said she was excited for the addition of the sensory room as it’s an initiative close to her heart.

“Danielle and Jack have been long-time supporters and passionate members of the Club. Your Capability Store is doing such incredibly special things for people living with a disability to provide a wide range of products that allow daily challenges more manageable and inclusive,” she said.

“Having a sensory room at every home game provides inclusivity and will allow more families to come and enjoy the netball. Fans on the spectrum will be provided with a comfortable and inclusive space that can be accessed at any time when the lights and cheers of the stadium become too much.

“As an Occupational Therapist, I am thrilled with the opportunity to provide a sensory room for our Lightning fans at home games to provide an inclusive and safe experience for all to enjoy!”

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