NBA makes flagship store in New York City sensory inclusive

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
NBA makes flagship store in New York City sensory inclusive
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AJ Ross reports on the new addition to NBA's flagship store accomodating families with special needs.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The NBA captivates millions of people around the world, and now, the league wants to expand their reach even further off the court.

"Inclusion is a key value of the NBA, and we want to bring that to life in everything we do," NBA Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility Todd Jacobson said.

At their flagship store on Fifth Avenue, new custom bags are now available for individuals with sensory sensitivities like autism in an effort to make the store more accommodating and accessible to families with special needs.

"We've been able to make this the first retail location in the world that's sensory inclusive," Jacobson said. "That means per minute accessibility in helping folks with sensory needs."

Inside each sensory bag are noise-canceling headphones, fidget spinners, and weighted lap bands.

"All the staff have been trained so they can go up to anyone and ask any questions when you go to any register," Jacobson said. "When somebody is going through an episode around a sensory disorder, folks tend to move away. And what we want to make sure is people tend to come talk to them offer support."

Teaming up with KultureCity, a non-profit dedicated to rethinking accessibility for people with special needs, the NBA plans to expand their sensory inclusiveness initiative to 20 arenas by next season.

"I think it's awesome," customer Susan English said. "I'm an educator from Michigan, and I totally understand the struggles that families go through with autism and other disorders. And I'm impressed that they have taken this step. It's very important."

They are small changes many believe can make a big difference in the lives of some of the league's most enthusiastic fans.

"It has been very interactive, and so for families with special needs children, I can see where it would be a great draw and a great fit for the whole family, really," English said.


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