A sensory inclusive space, PeeDee’s Sensory Room located inside Minges Coliseum.

On Sunday against the University of Cincinnati (17-8, 10-3 AAC), the crowd was packed with 4,082 screaming fans there to support the East Carolina University (10-16, 4-9 AAC) men’s basketball team and the tough overtime battle caused a lot of excitement inside Minges Coliseum.

During the game, ECU Athletics revealed the product of its partnership with the East Carolina University College of Health and Human Performance. A sensory inclusive space, PeeDee’s Sensory Room, has been built inside Minges Coliseum to accommodate specific needs of those attending ECU basketball games.

According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), a sensory room is a designated area where someone can receive or exclude sensory input and work on self-regulating behavior. In PeeDee’s Sensory Room there is an interactive sensory unit, soft gym mats, bean bag chairs, and bins of sensory toys for a variety of ages.

”This is an exciting project and a major addition to our fan experience as we ensure that everyone attending ECU athletics events feel included, supported and welcome,” ECU Athletics Director Jon Gilbert said in a press release.

This is the first part of a long-range Sensory Inclusion Project for ECU Athletics, which will continue to create the best environment for fans. Pee Dee’s Sensory Room is in the Developmental Motor Lab in Room 100 and includes equipment available for all ages.

According to Gilbert in the press release, ECU Athletics is committed to making sure every guest or fan that visits their athletic venues has a comfortable and calming experience and they will continue to work to have a mobile space at our home football games in 2020 in addition to the sensory room at Minges.

Including Aces for Autism, HPP and ECU Athletics also partnered with organizations across campus such as the Autism Society, The Innovation Design Lab in the Honors College, Best Buddies and KultureCity to make Pee Dee’s Sensory Room the best experience for fans.

“We are grateful to Chancellor Ron Mitchelson, faculty and staff in the College of Health and Human Performance who helped make this a reality,” Gilbert said.

The space will continue to add helpful equipment to expand and reach more people. ECU Athletics looks to create a more comfortable fan experience beyond just basketball, along with other sports held in Minges Coliseum. Reaching out to ECU Athletics of the ECU University Advancement Office to help support financially is important and greatly appreciated.

“PeeDee’s Sensory room will give people who experience sensory overload at our ECU athletic events a place to relax and regroup so they may return to the game with their friends and families,” Director of Medical Family Therapy Doctoral Program at East Carolina University, Jennifer Hodgson, said in a press release.

According to Hodgson in the press release, the sensory room will be staffed with caring, compassionate volunteers from the College of Health and Human Performance, Aces for Autism, the Autism Society, Best Buddies and across the ECU campus community.

Hodgson said in the press release that their hope is that this sensory space will encourage more families from their community to attend ECU athletic events together and see ECU as an inclusive welcoming place for everyone.

East Carolina is home to many loud and proud sports fans, but some fans need a place to decompress from sensory overload. For this Sunday’s home game against Temple University (13-12, 5-7 AAC), Pee Dee’s Sensory Room will be available for anyone who needs to step away from the action.

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