JWoww is working to make public spaces safe and welcoming for people with sensory processing disorders in honor of her son, Greyson
For families with members on the autism spectrum or with other sensory processing disorders, going out to big public events can be incredibly stressful. This is why Jenni Farley, better known as JWoww from Jersey Shore, partnered with Barclays and KultureCity to create the Greyson Mathews Sensory Room at the Barclays Center. The space is meant to accommodate visitors like her five-year-old son, Greyson, who was diagnosed with autism three years ago.
Farley first recognized that spaces like this were necessary when she took a two-year-old Greyson to a WWE show. When he was diagnosed, she admittedly did not know as much about the autism disorder spectrum as she does now. She thought that this just meant he might have a “speech delay” and other linguistic problems, but did not know that people on the autism spectrum can also experience sensory overload, which can be overwhelming and isolating
“When we sat down here at the Barclays Center, I realized that autism was bigger than that,” the 35-year-old mother of two said. “We realized that sensory needs and sensory issues were at play. Long story short, he couldn’t fully enjoy the experience.” This is when she came up with the idea of the Greyson Mathews Sensory Room, which she wants to “serve as a dedicated space for individuals with sensory processing sensitives who may need a quieter and more secure environment.”
JWoww partnered with nonprofit KultureCity to bring the sensory room to the Barclays Center
In order to make sure Greyson and others can “live [their] best lives going to events,” the room features lots of tools to help overstimulated guests. It has sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools (yes, including fidget spinners!), verbal cue cards, and even weighted lap pads, which can help someone experiencing high levels of anxiety or stress.
When JWoww shared the news on Instagram, friends and fans were overjoyed with JWoww’s work. “This is amazing! So proud 🙏🏽,” fellow Jersey Shore alum and momma Snooki commented. “I’m so proud of you & the fam 🥺,” added Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino.
“When we talk about accessibility and inclusion, we have an obligation to ensure our guests with an invisible disability are treated with the appropriate accommodations at arena events,” Stacey McCoy, Senior Director of Guest Services at Barclays Center said in a news release. “Working with KultureCity to acquire sensory inclusive certification has helped Barclays Center become more welcoming to all our guests and serve an entirely new community of individuals.”
KultureCity intends to open up more and more sensory rooms in larger venues. Way to go, JWoww!