Play is for Everyone with Sensory Inclusion Certification at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto

The LEGO Group, LEGO House and the LEGO Foundation today announce a range of long-term initiatives designed to support and celebrate neurodivergent children and adults to mark the start of World Autism Acceptance Month.

Colette Burke, Chief Commercial Officer at the LEGO Group, comments:
“All LEGO entities are united by our mission to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow and a belief that the benefits of play are equally critical to all children. This fuels our exploration of how to make the LEGO experience more inclusive and welcoming for everyone.“

“We know the LEGO System in Play is enjoyed by neurodivergent fans of all ages and we want to support, inspire, and celebrate their creativity. We hope that the changes to our stores, publications and family attractions will have a positive impact and help embrace the diverse needs and strengths of our fans globally. There will always be more to do, and we’re committed to working with fans and experts to implement initiatives that can help make a difference in building a more inclusive world.”

KultureCity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing accessibility in public spaces for individuals with sensory needs and invisible disabilities. It certifies locations that provide visitors with an inclusive experience through staff training and access to support tools.

The certification serves as a reassurance to visitors that staff at certified venues understand how sensory needs vary and how best they can help ensure everyone feels welcome and supported in their visit. It also means that sensory bags are always available to checkout at no cost during visits. These contain items such as noise reducing headphones, fidget tools, visual cue cards, KultureCity branded lanyards and strobe reduction glasses*.

  • All LEGO stores in the U.S. and Canada will be KultureCity Sensory Inclusive™ Certified in April. The ambition is to expand certification to more countries later in the year.
  • LEGO House already carries KultureCity Sensory Inclusive Certification. Located in Billund, Denmark, LEGO House is the ultimate LEGO fan experience and home of the LEGO brick and features unique Experience Zones, rooftop playgrounds and a LEGO Museum. It is the first experience centre in the Nordics to receive KultureCity certification. It also participates in the globally-recognised Sunflower Lanyard scheme for people with hidden disabilities. In January, LEGO House unveiled a new experience in the History Collection, which features an interactive timeline with animations supported by audio, braille, International Sign and tangible wooden models to increase accessibility.

KultureCity signage indicating the Sensory Inclusive Certification will be visible at each location once team training is complete and supportive sensory bags are available. Social stories will be available on the KultureCity app to help guests prepare for their visit.

Isabella age 11 and autistic reflected on the changes and what they mean to her:
“When I’m in a crowded place or noisy area, I feel nervous. The [noise reducing] headphones really help well because it just cancels out most loud noises. It gives me a little bit less stress. If there’s someone really close to me and I feel like I’m really nervous, I’ll just pop a fidget out and just play with it to calm myself down.”

“I like having [noise reducing] headphones and fidgets in the LEGO store because it’s just going to make me feel really more welcome.”
Samantha, mum to Isabella said about the certification:
“When I heard about this project, I just beamed. I was so excited. I’ve been waiting for this – to just be able to go to the store, where the employees understand, and the store is ready for my child. It’s exciting. Having KultureCity involved gives me so much confidence that my child will enjoy the experience and the sensory bags will make us come to the store more often.”

Sean, autistic AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO play) also commented:
“To have sensory bags in a LEGO store when I was a kid would’ve changed my whole perspective on the communities I could be a part of.”

“Being able to experience the LEGO store at my own pace would have allowed me to connect to so many other people and LEGO fans, and truly feel like I belong. This move will allow for people like me, a full-grown adult, to experience everything the store has to offer and let children visiting the store have their own perspective on their own lives changed in a positive way. That’s something that can’t be replaced.”

To learn more about the KultureCity certification and how it can support families visiting LEGO House or a sensory inclusive certified LEGO store, view this video.

The LEGO Group invited inclusion experts Special Networks to audit its LEGO Life magazine to understand how to make it more welcoming for neurodivergent readers. Special Networks reviewed two years’ worth of editions and praised the magazine’s clear language, diverse representation, and user-friendly layouts. However, they proposed a range of improvements that have been included in the latest edition (Issue 2 2024) and will continue to feature in future editions. These include:

  • Numbering the boxes used in cartoons to make them easier to follow.
  • Ensuring consistent and meaningful use of visual symbols.
  • Planning content to suit varied abilities and interests.
  • Having consistency in placement of useful items, such as prompts for activity answers.