Portland Timbers Team with Shadow Project

Portland Timbers Team with Shadow Project

A visit to a special education classroom to see firsthand how sensory tools benefit Shadow Project students led The Portland Timbers to collaborate with us on making their guest services suite in Providence Park more inviting for visitors.

After meeting students at Rosa Parks Elementary and hearing how sensory tools—handheld items that squish, shake, or move—help develop self-regulation in the classroom, Timber Joey and his colleagues wanted to make the stadium more inclusive for families. They asked The Shadow Project for recipes to create gel bags and sensory bottles during Major League Soccer’s week of service.

“We want people to feel comfortable at the park, no matter their situation,” said Timber Joey. “We want people to have a memorable experience. I wish I’d had these kind of tools when I was a kid.”

Sensory Tools

Portland Public Schools’ Occupational Therapists Helen Clarke and Martha Thomas instructed Timbers players and staff on how to create the colorful sensory tools. “You can imagine a Timbers game and how loud and visually stimulating the games can be for kids,” said Helen. With the constant movement of lights, smoke, noise, and flags, “the sensory tools will be great for kids who need a break.”

Defender Vytas Andriuškevičius was thinking about his sister’s son who has autism while he made sensory bottles. “We are always happy to help. I understand for these kids it is hard to be in public, and they need some understanding.”

Jordan Farwell, community relations manager, said the sensory items in the guest services center have been hugely successful. “A bunch of visitors saw the video we posted, and utilized the tools throughout the match.”

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