Prior to the start of the 2019 season, the Brooklyn Cyclones, in conjunction with Curemark, LLC, introduced a first-of-its-kind partnership called The Puzzle Piece Playhouse – a sensory safe space, designed specifically to accommodate children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as their families.
The space, which is offered free of charge, is located in a newly renovated and redesigned Luxury Suite. The Puzzle Piece Playhouse is fully equipped with sensory toys, games, and tools, provided by Fun & Function, to make their experience feel like home.
"We are honored to form this partnership with the Brooklyn Cyclones in what we hope will be the first of many spaces dedicated to children and adults with autism around professional baseball,” said Dr. Joan Fallon, CEO of Curemark. “Every person in the US should have access to baseball and sport whether as a participant or as a spectator. I applaud the Cyclones organization and their parent organization, the NY Mets for this bold step”
“Our organization is focused on making all fans feel welcome and safe when they come to MCU Park,” said Cyclones Vice President Steve Cohen. “The Puzzle Piece Playhouse is the newest way we have achieved this goal. We’re excited to be able to provide a way for a new group of fans to come and experience Cyclones baseball.”
The suite typically accommodates up to 12 people, but capacity will be reduced for the 2021 season based on health and safety guidelines.
"When the Brooklyn Cyclones asked Fun and Function to create a sensory room, we were thrilled to level the playing field for all fans. We believe that our different abilities are our greatest strength, and we've equipped the Puzzle Piece Playhouse to help each person thrive," said Aviva Weiss, CEO of Fun and Function, which designs products and environments for children and adults with autism, sensory processing and attention disorders, and other challenges. "An inclusive stadium improves the experience for everyone in the game," she added.
In addition to corporate champions Curemark, LLC and Fun & Function the space was made available through a private donation from Michael DeCillis and Karen Santana.
"We are thrilled that we are able to help make Puzzle Piece Playhouse a reality for those who are on the autism spectrum, as well as their families and caregivers. As parents of a child with autism, and myself a former special education teacher of students with autism in District 75, we understand how important accessibility and inclusivity is in all spaces. We believe the Puzzle Piece Playhouse demonstrates that the Brooklyn Cyclones are committed to welcoming all people to enjoy our nation’s pastime."