Sensory Kits now available at Mayo Civic Center, Rochester Art Center

Sensory Sensitive Kits at Mayo Civic Center

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(ABC 6 News) – Sensory kits are meant to help anyone with autism or other developmental disorders comfortably attend events at the Mayo Civic Center and Rochester Art Center.

Erin O’Brien is the Communications Manager at the Mayo Civic Center. She notes that there are a lot of events coming up that feature things that could overwhelm people who are neurodivergent, or struggle in social settings. “We have a wide variety of events. They could be big, loud, or have bright lights.”

The kit comes includes a pair of adult-sized headphones, infant-sized headphones, a feelings card and a mix of fidget toys.

Amy Garretson is the Education and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Rochester Art Center. She is excited for these kits to help bring more people into check out the art. “Everyone is welcome to checkout one of these sensory kits that comes with a bunch of very helpful goodies.”

For people who are nonverbal, that is exactly where the feelings card comes in handy.

O’Brien describes how someone uses the feelings card. “If someone is having a hard time describing how they are feeling or what they need in that moment, they can take this card and point to it. They can point to their feelings, point to what might help them in that particular situation. On the other side too, they can point and be like hey I need a pair of headphones or hey I’m hungry I need a snack.”

With these kits in hand, the hope is that everyone in the family can enjoy all there is to offer at the Mayo Civic Center and the Rochester Art Center.

With Free Family Days set to return soon, Garretson explains a scenario where the sensory kit would be handy. “If you wanna experience the gallery as a family, but are worried about a young one touching some of the art, the fidget toys are very good for that.”

If you want to take advantage of these kits, visit the security desk on the second floor of the Mayo Civic Center. It is located by the skyway leading to the parking garage.

Then, just provide an ID and return the kit when you’re done. You will then have your ID returned. The kit will then be sanitized for whoever needs it next.

O’Brien shared some overall thoughts on the creation of these kits and how they will help. “We worked with all the right people to make sure everything is programmed right. We are also open to feedback in hopes of developing these kits more.”

These kits were created in collaboration with the Autism Society of Minnesota and the Rochester Autism Resource Guide.

As of when this article was posted, there are 10 kits available on a first come, first serve basis. Although, staff plans to add more, if there is popular demand.