Cal Poly Introduces “Sensory Packs” For PAC Accessibility

By Sammy Nishihama

November 13, 2023

Cal Poly’s San Luis Obispo campus strives to make their entire campus accessible for all people, including those with disabilities. This is evident by statements made on their website, including, “We are building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.” Cal Poly SLO is making efforts to stay true to this statement by providing numerous resources to the students and guests on their campus. One new way they are improving accessibility is in their Performing Arts Center (PAC), providing Sensory Packs for people who may struggle with sensory issues due to a disability. 

The Performing Arts Center is now partnering with KultureCity to provide sensory bags in the main lobby, for guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. These bags are aimed to help people with disabilities such as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), ADHD, and PTSD, who may struggle with sensory issues related to their disability. The sensory bags, as well as other resources available, will not only improve Cal Poly’s overall accessibility, but will also improve the quality of the experience for people with differing sensory needs. Because sensory needs vary from person to person, the resources provide a wide variety of tools for enhancing the experience of the Performing Arts Center’s guests. 

Example of sensory bag contents (photo credit: KultureCity instagram)

The bags contain a selection of items that can assist both adults and children at the PAC. Noise canceling headphones provide protection against overwhelming sounds and noises, while the fidgets act as an outlet for potential stress and anxiety caused by sensory overload. The packs are free to use, and are cleaned and sterilized between uses. Additionally, Katherine Worsham, an Assistant News Director with KSBY states, “PAC officials say staff members are also trained annually on how to recognize guests with sensory needs such as autism, dementia, and PTSD.” 

The importance of additional assistance for students and guests with disabilities is something that is often overlooked. However, it is critical that certain public locations offer resources for accessibility to people with disabilities. In addition to Sensory Bags through KultureCity, the Performing Arts Center also offers multiple other resources to aid with accessibility. Weighted lap pads are available upon request, as well as quiet areas throughout the building. Overall, the partnership with KultureCity to provide new resources to those that may suffer from sensory issues is a positive addition to Cal Poly’s SLO campus.