The San Diego Padres and the Autism Society of San Diego hosted a behind the scenes event Sunday for children with special needs.
SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and the Autism Society of San Diego hosted a behind the scenes event Sunday for children with special needs. This event is the first of its kind for Major League Baseball.
The Sapper family is excited for Stevenson, who has special needs, to enjoy a behind the scenes look at Petco Park.
“Yes! Stevenson is very excited to see Petco and see behind the scenes in a quieter, sensory way. It’s important for those on the autism spectrum to be at the park ahead of time before the sensory input is at its highest, so they can get a sense of the space and feel more comfortable and know what to expect,” said Stevenson’s mother, Cyndi Sapper.
The Sapper family and nearly 50 other families with children who have sensory challenges were guided through Petco Park game day tasks and activities; such as the security check-in, meeting the mascot and, of course, trying the ballpark snacks.
They also received a backpack filled with goodies including headphones and other sensory gadgets.
“Our special kids need a preview of everything and this affords an opportunity to get a feel of the ballpark before a game,” said Stevenson’s father, Steve Sapper.
“It’s really cool to be able to experience this with your whole family that don’t always get to have those family moments and enjoy the game and nice time together,” said Stevenson’s sister, Katie Sapper.
Petco Park is the first major league ballpark on the west coast to receive a sensory inclusive certification. All gameday staff are trained to know the best practices to provide sensory inclusion, something that is important to those with special needs to feel more comfortable on gamedays.
For Stevenson, this special event is a home run.
“Go Padres!” shouts Stevenson.
The San Diego Padres are in Spring Training right now. The first home game is April 14th, so all families can come and enjoy at Petco Park.
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