WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Monster truck shows. Ice skating events. Rock concerts.
Just a few of the events held inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.
But not everyone who attends can handle all that stimulation, like Lindsay Dragon's nine-year-old son Jackson, who is on the autism spectrum.
"We've been to many shows where we've been here for maybe 20 minutes. And that was that was it doesn't matter how much we spent, what seats we had, where we were 20 minutes we were done," said Dragon.
Now the arena has teamed up with the occupational therapy department at Misericordia University to create Archie's Sensory Program for families like Lindsay's.
The program is tiered. The first is Archie's Sensory Stories.
"The sensory social stories serve as a preparatory activity that families of loved ones with sensory processing difficulties and autism spectrum can watch prior to arriving at the arena," said Peyton Breinich, a pediatric occupational therapist and doctoral student at Misericordia.
Secondly, there is a Sensory Lending Library that offers tools to help with sensory overload.
When what is happening out here in the arena, still gets to be too much for a child with sensory challenges, even with the use of things like headphones or fidget spinners, there's a place called 'Archie's Den' and parents can go to a booth on the concourse level and get one of three passes to take the child there.
Archie's Den provides a calming space for those who might be overstimulated inside the arena.
"The seating and everything he'll really enjoy the lights and watching the You know, all the fish," said Dragon.
"For my Jackson is the best thing," said Courtney Hagy who also has a son named Jackson on the autism spectrum. "The fact that it's smaller is would be very appealing to him. And the fact that there's not a whole lot of space for him to run not a lot of room for him to get overwhelmed. It sort of keeps them in that funnel of this is what you have to concentrate on. When you have too much that's when things get out of control."
More details about the sensory program at the arena can be found by clicking here.
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