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Birmingham unveils new sensory room during Autism Acceptance Month

City of Birmingham

Birmingham is opening the Tamika Hall Sensory Room at Boutwell Auditorium, a project supported by the nonprofit organization KultureCity in honor of Autism Acceptance Month.

According to information from the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADPH), many people with ASD have unusual ways of learning, paying attention and reacting to different sensations. ADPH states the thinking and learning abilities of people with ASD can vary from gifted to severely challenged. ASD begins before the age of three and lasts throughout the life of a person with the disorder.

The city states the opening the Tamika Hall Sensory Room emphasizes the dedication to inclusivity and support for individuals with sensory needs, reflecting a broader commitment by the city and KultureCity, nonprofit organization which trains staff at venues and then certifies venues which have sensory inclusive modifications, to create sensory-inclusive environments.

Tamika Hall Sensory Room: A Legacy of Compassion:
Named in honor of Tamika Hall, a fervent advocate for sensory inclusivity, the sensory room at Boutwell Auditorium is a tribute to her dedication and her close relationship with KultureCity. The room is designed to offer a safe and accommodating space for individuals with sensory sensitivities, ensuring a positive experience at the venue.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony taking place in Birmingham for the grand opening of the Tamika Hall Sensory Room at Boutwell Auditorium, a project in honor of Autism Acceptance Month.
City of Birmingham
A ribbon-cutting ceremony taking place in Birmingham for the grand opening of the Tamika Hall Sensory Room at Boutwell Auditorium, a project in honor of Autism Acceptance Month.

“Opening the Tamika Hall Sensory Room at Boutwell Auditorium is not just an addition to our facilities; it’s a heartfelt tribute to one of our most cherished colleagues,” stated Alicia Johnson-Williams, Executive Director. “Tamika Hall’s passion and advocacy for sensory inclusion have left an indelible mark on our community, and it’s an honor to see her legacy celebrated in such a meaningful way. We are profoundly thankful to KultureCity for recognizing Tamika’s contributions and for their steadfast dedication to creating spaces where everyone, regardless of their sensory needs, can feel welcomed and valued. This room stands as a testament to Tamika’s spirit and dedication, ensuring her impact will continue to resonate and inspire future generations.”

“Tamika Hall was the embodiment of love and warmth, greeting everyone with open arms and a bright smile, no matter the season or the time of day,” remarked Dr. Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity. “Her unwavering kindness and dedication to inclusivity are what inspired us to establish the Tamika Hall Sensory Room. This space is a tribute to her incredible spirit, a place where her legacy of compassion continues to make a profound impact. We at KultureCity are deeply moved to honor Tamika in this way, ensuring her loving presence is felt by all who enter, reflecting the same welcoming embrace she offered to every person she encountered.”

Boutwell Auditorium 100th Anniversary: Celebrating a Century of Community Engagement:
The inauguration of the Tamika Hall Sensory Room coincides with Boutwell 100, marking a century of significant events and milestones at Boutwell Auditorium. This addition enhances the venue’s legacy as a welcoming space for all community members.

KultureCity: A Decade of Sensory Inclusion:
KultureCity, celebrating its 10th anniversary, is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to creating sensory-inclusive environments, demonstrating a profound commitment to accessibility for all individuals, including those with autism, dementia, PTSD, and other conditions.

This innovative organization has been recognized for its nationwide efforts, partnering with various venues to establish over 2,200 sensory-inclusive locations across six countries. KultureCity’s achievements, marked by numerous awards, underscore its impact on communities, ensuring that individuals with sensory needs can engage with the world in a more comfortable and accommodating manner.

Read more about the Tamika Hall Sensory Room at Birmingham's Boutwell Auditorium here.

Baillee Majors is the Morning Edition host and a reporter at Alabama Public Radio.
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