Google Launches Sensory Event Kits for a More Inclusive Experience
Google has introduced sensory event kits for its own corporate events, and the company is making them available for purchase to other events through the Google Merch Shop.
“As we rolled these out internally in a series of other efforts, we wanted to make them accessible to other event professionals who want to be more inclusive for more than 20% of attendees who are neurodivergent or experience sensory sensitivities,” said Megan Henshall, global events strategic solutions lead for Google.
Henshall is the force behind Neu Project, a community that began at Google, working to inspire safe, reflective events and environments that allow all people to thrive.
She added, “This first batch of kits is at a significant discount because the Google Xi team felt it was more important to get these out into the world than cover costs.”
We caught up with Henshall to find out more about the kits and how and why they were developed.
Would you give us some background on why you developed these sensory kits?
MH: Not all environments are friendly to those who are neurodivergent or have sensory sensitivities, and attending events can be really challenging for a large number of people. A staggering statistic that we learned through our partnership with EventWell is that 85% of neurodivergent attendees have opted out of attending an event due to fear of becoming overwhelmed, triggered or unwell. We've also heard this story from a lot of our neurodivergent consultants.
This is our loss, and it's a shame. This kit was created to provide assistive tools that can make events, the office and public/common spaces more tolerable and combat some of the most common triggers in those environments.
Are you sending them to attendees at your events?
MH: We have shipped them to our event centers, which are some of the most high-traffic and complex venues. They will be available there for any Googlers or guests who want them, at no cost to them. We've also made the kits available for event hosts and sponsors (inside and outside of Google) to purchase for specific events via our Google Merch Shop.
MH: These kits can be useful at all events!
How did you select what goes into the kit?
MH: We looked at the research on common sensory triggers and sourced assistive tools that could support, but most importantly we listened to neurodivergent Googlers and consultants. We asked what tools they use and need. This kit will absolutely evolve – there are new tools and tech emerging every day, and we're collecting feedback with this initial kit so that future versions are even more helpful and effective.
Anything else you think event organizers should know?
MH: Statistically, 20%+ of your attendees are neurodivergent. Things like sensory kits and resilience spaces (quiet/wellbeing rooms) can not only reduce the pre-event fear and the likelihood of sensory overwhelm during the event, but can also cultivate a sense of safety and belonging for those attendees.
Need to know
The Google kits include:
- Tangle - A popular puzzle toy that twists and turns to transform into endless shapes, made with ABS plastic.
- Coloring Pencils - Natural paper tube with a clear lid and pencil sharpener included. Pencil colors Include black, blue, brown, dark green, light blue, light green, maroon, orange, pink, purple, red and yellow.
- Loop Earplugs - Made to protect ears and hearing, they take the edge off with up to 16 dB of filtered noise reduction. Comes with four interchangeable ear tip sizes. Reusable and easy to clean!
- Spiky Massage Finger Ring - Helps reduce anxiety, relieve stress and promote the finger's blood circulation. The finger roller massager is elastic and suitable for fingers of most sizes.
- Sticker Sheet - Ultra-removable stickers on a sheet with white backing.
- Sunglasses - Made from recycled material and contain FL-41 tinting to help with light sensitivity.
- Enamel Pin - Soft enamel pin made with base iron and zinc alloy material.
- Journal - Made with brown kraft semi-flexible cardstock. Contains 28 sheets (56 pages) of blank kraft paper.
- Recycled Box - Made from up to 60% FSC-certified recycled materials. Printed with non-toxic, water-based inks, these custom boxes for shipping can be recycled curb-side after use.
- Recycled Box Sticker - Made from 100% FSC-certified recycled paper and printed with water-based inks. Breaks down fully in home compost within 180 days, and 90 days in commercial compost.