Former "Jersey Shore" star Jenni Farley on Wednesday cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the first-ever sensory room in a New York City arena --- and it's dedicated to her son who's on the autistic spectrum.
Farley, better known as JWoww, explained that she took her son Greyson Mathews was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder three years ago. She had thought that her son was just experiencing speech delay as part of the diagnosis so she took him to a WWE show in Brooklyn when he was 2 years old.
"When we sat down here at the Barclays Center, I realized that autism was bigger than that," the 35-year-old mother of two said. "We realized that sensory needs and sensory issues were at play. Long story short, he couldn't fully enjoy the experience."
That's when Farley decided something had to be done to make crowded spaces like sports arenas more accessible to kids like Greyson. The reality star then partnered with the nonprofit KultureCity to bring the sensory room to Barclays.
"Now Greyson can live his best life going to events," she said.
A spokesperson for Barclays Center said the venue has been sensory inclusive by providing complimentary sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads at Guest Services stations. But the new sensory room opened Tuesday for the Brooklyn Nets game is a huge next step to making sure the center is welcoming to all.
“When we talk about accessibility and inclusion, we have an obligation to ensure our guests with an invisible disability are treated with the appropriate accommodations at arena events,” Stacey McCoy, Senior Director of Guest Services at Barclays Center said in a news release. “Working with KultureCity to acquire sensory inclusive certification has helped Barclays Center become more welcoming to all our guests and serve an entirely new community of individuals."