An Arsenal supporter has revealed the lengths to which the north London club went to ensure his autistic son’s first ever football match was a success.
Arsenal advanced to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Leeds on Tuesday night, thanks to goals from Calum Chambers and Eddie Nketiah.
With his first ever football match being a trip to the Emirates Stadium in north London, it was going to be a night to remember for one young Arsenal fan.
However, because the boy is autism, his experience appeared to be coming to an end owing to the loud atmosphere and crowded crowds, until a caring steward and fellow Arsenal staff members stepped in to save the day.
Last night I took my son to Arsenal for his first match. He was buzzing all day for it. I wasnât sure if it heâd ever go as he has autism. Once we were in the ground he struggled with about 50,000 people shouting and was having a hard time. Halfway through the 1st half
A steward (blonde lady, wish I remembered her name) inquired why we were leaving the stadium, and I informed her. She asked me to wait while she spoke with someone else. We’re being escorted to club level the next thing I know.
‘They have a sensory area where we could watch the rest of the game,’ says the narrator. Luke Howard, the guy in charge of the room, was excellent with everyone in there, and he and the stewards who assisted him made the night one to remember. Arsenal, thank you.’
We are so glad we were able to help you and your son last night, Dave. Itâs our pleasure. At Arsenal, we are incredibly proud of our sensory room and Luke absolutely loved meeting you guys! ðâ¤ï¸ pic.twitter.com/xpbjblSvy8
Arsenal has already responded to Dave’s tweet with a photo of Luke, the man who assisted him in making his son feel at ease in the sensory area.
‘We are very delighted we were able to aid you and your son last night, Dave,’ the club tweeted. It’s a pleasure for us.
‘At Arsenal, we’re quite proud of our sensory room, and Luke had a great time meeting you!’
The goal of Arsenal’s sensory room, which was introduced in 2017, was to “incorporate a match viewing room that has mechanisms in place to produce a safe, peaceful, and comfortable environment with decreased sensory inputs to experience matches.”
The room is a one-of-a-kind location that allows adults and children with special needs, such as autism, to watch live matches from a room with a window on the pitch and a variety of sensory activities and toys that provide a peaceful environment for fans and their families.
The sensory room is available for every match at the Emirates across all competitions, with a total of 12 spaces available for each match.