For many families, going to the football is an exciting weekly ritual. Yet it can often be a stressful experience navigating through the busy environment with many large crowds and loud noises. It can be even more stressful when you or someone you are attending with has a disability which is not immediately apparent to staff. These Hidden Disabilities can include autism, anxiety issues, mental health conditions, dementia, visual impairments, deaf or hard of hearing.
Hawthorn Football Club has recently implemented the Hidden Disability Program for all our home games in 2020. The aim of this program is to assist you to create the most stress-free footy experience in a discreet manner. This program supports fans requiring special assistance as they navigate through the stadium.
The Hidden Disability Program consists of:
● A lanyard to wear from arrival at the stadium to allow staff to recognise that you may require additional assistance throughout the game.
● Sensory Map - This identifies high sensory and low sensory areas to help you navigate through the stadium. This can help you prepare for additional noise, crowded areas and identify zones where you can stop in a quieter area if required.
● Social Stories – These narratives illustrate how to navigate through both the MCG and UTAS Stadiums in an easy to understand structure. The pictorial format assists in explaining in detail what they can expect throughout a game.
● Staff training - staff will all be trained in the Hidden Disability Program to ensure that additional care and consideration is provided during your time at the game and ensures staff are able to assist you if needed. Whether that be guiding you through each step, providing you information or lending a helping hand to navigate through the game.
We hope to reduce the stress of attending the football and give more families the opportunity to have access to Hawthorn matches.
Please note that Hawthorn Football Club reserves its right, at any time, to request evidence and/or supporting documentation as a pre-condition to providing an attendee with a Hidden Disability Program pack.
If the Hidden Disability Program sounds right for you, please request a Hidden Disabilities Pack by clicking here.