Some of the contents of the new kits for sensory challenged children that the Penticton Vees will be loaning to some of their young fans at upcoming home games in conjunction with the OSNS Child and Youth Development. (Submitted)

Penticton Vees loaning sensory kits to challenged children

The kits will be loaned out at no charge and will be available at the guest services booth.

To make games more inclusive for everyone, starting this Sunday the Penticton Vees Junior Hockey Club will be making sensory kits available at all home games.

The kits include noise-muffling headphones, sunglasses, a stress ball, sticker activities, hockey cards and a social story.

After seeing similar initiatives by other junior hockey organizations the Vees went out and purchased a number of kits for their own young fans who have sensory challenges.

“We all have different sensory systems,” said Manisha Willms, executive director of the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre which is working in conjunction with the Vees on the project. “We know that the sensory systems of children with autism and similar disorders are different and that precludes them from participating in some of the activities that families like to participate in together.

“So at a hockey game, things like a sudden, bright lights that happen when a goal is scored or when the team first comes on the ice or the cheering that happens, that might be overwhelming to the point that they can’t manage.”

She related to something that makes most people cringe.

“So it would be like, I hate (finger) nails on a chalkboard and if someone put me in a room with nails going down a chalkboard and someone said: ‘Now Manisha, focus on watching this game or on doing some math or whatever it is, there would be no way that that would be tenable for me,” said Willms, who expressed her appreciation to the club for their efforts of inclusion. “These kits will go a long way towards making games more accessible.”

READ MORE: Fast-paced South Okanagan fundraiser guaranteed to thrill

The social story will include things like what transpires at a hockey game, cheering, lights, so when that happens it will not be as much of a surprise to the kids.

“The stories will be things like when we go to a hockey game; ‘We sit in our seats and cheer for our team, sometimes it can get loud and I can use my head phones,’ things like that which will help the child,” said Willms.

The kits will be loaned out at no charge and will be available at the guest services booth on the concourse at the top of the stairs at the main entrance.

Phase two of the program will be to provide South Okanagan Event Centre (SOEC) tours prior to games so it goes from an unknown to someplace familiar.

READ MORE: Vees beat Eagles to secure eighth win in a row

“We feel fortunate to be part of a community that shows so much support for our team,” said Vees director of corporate partnerships, Alex Welsman, “We want our Vees games to be a place where all families feel included.”

Sunday’s B.C. Hockey League game is a 2 p.m., a matinee match against the West Kelowna Warriors.

Following that they will play four more home games to wrap up the regular season.


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


 MarkBrett
Send Mark Brett an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Penticton Vees

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Playgrounds remain closed in South Okanagan and Similkameen

Communities, school districts and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen have all shut facilities

LETTER: Flights from infected countries should be banned

There is no excuse to allow those from infected countries to keep coming to B.C.

Penticton RCMP, Fire Department, BCEHS salute hospital workers

“You’re awesome” and “Thank you” say Penticton first responders, passing by emergency entrance

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Social media ‘prank’ leads to criminal investigation in Osoyoos

Post claims individuals will be canvassing door to door seeking housing for seasonal workers

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

Gleaners give surplus produce, North Okanagan gratefully fed

Trailer full of goods scooped by community amid COVID-19

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

Friends of Dorothy’s drag queens deliver food in support of Kelowna’s first responders

The lounge is donating $5 from every order to first responders

Coquihalla closed in both directions, medevac to land

DriveBC says drivers should expect delays of up to one hour

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Salmon Arm opens respiratory clinic in response to COVID-19

Clinic will not be a walk-in centre, residents must call family doctor or nurse practioner first

High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man says he skips puffs to save money, but others have it worse

Most Read