Football matches and stadiums in general are loud, crowded, and generally stressful, especially for children with autism who may have difficulty dealing with large crowds and unexpected noises.
The FAI however, have realised this and wanted to do something that would make the young footie fans more at ease.
They created a match day checklist so that children with autism who like following routines will feel more in control on their big day out. The checklist was designed alongside the Irish Society for Autism, and is a truly lovely idea.
A spokesperson for the FAI told TheJournal.ie: “The reasoning behind the checklist was that we became aware of autistic children experiencing games differently at Aviva Stadium so we wanted to help make their match day even more enjoyable.”
The creative checklist allows kids to tick off:
- How many tickets they booked
- What stand they sit in
- The row and seat number on the ticket
- The mode of transport used to get to the venue
- Who they are attending the event with
- Their time of arrival
- What food and drink they consume at the event
- What they will bring home from the match
- What player they will be watching the most
A full match day itinerary will also be printed on the side of the checklist.
A statement from the FAI also said: “We have also catered for kids with autism who get uncomfortable amongst large crowds and overwhelmed by big noises by providing a corporate box for a number of families for the ‘Three’ international friendly against Iceland in June.
“Over the coming months we plan on rolling out more initiatives to help make the match day for kids with autism as safe and enjoyable as possible.”
This is really, really nice to see. Keep up the sound work.