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ABA Centers of Florida Takes Over loanDepot park for Autism Acceptance Night

Marlins Ac Night

Last night, attendees of the Miami Marlins game against the San Francisco Giants were treated to more than one winning experience as ABA Centers of Florida took over loanDepot park as the sponsor for the ballpark’s annual Autism Acceptance Night.

For families impacted by autism, experiences like baseball games can be a challenging and sometimes inaccessible experience, so ABA Centers of Florida offered a private space staffed with autism therapists for its clients and their families to view the game. This outing allowed the children to apply their autism care lessons to a real-life situation and their assigned behavior therapists provided each child with one-on-one support to help navigate the exhilarating environment.

In an effort to raise awareness for autism acceptance, Michael Holzum, Chief of Staff for ABA Centers of Florida, threw the first pitch of the evening, scoring a strike and setting the tone for Marlins’ game-clenching performance to come.

Sebastien A., a three-year old client of the organization, delivered the player line-up card hand-in-hand with his mom to kick-off the game, his very first baseball game ever. Three other young clients also received once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Joseph W., Adrian A., and Caleb P. charged the field with their behavior therapists by their side to swap out the bases at the top of the seventh inning. The youngsters took to the field once again for the seventh inning stretch and led the entire arena in a singalong of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Throughout the facility, ABA Centers of Florida installed scaled versions of the same strategically designed play spaces that are found in each of its autism care clinics, so that all guests of loanDepot park could experience firsthand what autism care of the future looks like.

On opening day, ABA Centers of Florida hosted a naming ceremony of the ballpark’s sensory room. Located on the fifth floor (Legends Level), the sensory room provides solace to guests who may become overstimulated by the loud cheers and bright lights, where they can take a few minutes to recenter themselves through the self-soothing tools and activities provided within the room. The sensory room was created with the neurodivergent community in mind, but all guests of loanDepot park are welcome to enjoy the space at both baseball and non-baseball events throughout the season.

For guests that would like to soothe-on-the-go, ABA Centers of Florida has also supplied loanDepot park with sensory bags that include headphones and other items to provide another layer of overstimulation alleviation. These sensory bags can be requested through the ballpark’s guest services desk.

“With ABA Centers of Florida, I promised that I would provide our kiddos with the kinds of experiences that my own daughter missed out on,” remarked Christopher Barnett, Founder of ABA Centers. “I’m so thankful to the Miami Marlins for championing inclusivity and treating our clients – and everyone within the neurodivergent community – with such compassion and respect.”

ABA Centers of Florida is the official Autism Education Partner for the Miami Marlins’ 2024 season. This year’s sponsorship builds upon the relationship the two organizations formed in 2023

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