We are excited to celebrate the launch of a new section on our website titled ‘our findings’. In this area we will be sharing information that we have learnt from working with autistic people over the past year in an accessible and easy to read format. We are looking forward to sharing quotes with you from our participants as well as explaining more about the sensory web that both Keren and Emily from our research team designed and developed.
What can I learn about so far?
So far, our website has information about the data we collected from our focus groups. We analysed this data using two different methods called reflexive thematic analysis and content analysis. We identified a range of different public places that autistic people often find more difficult as well as a series of themes which can make a space easier or more difficult to cope with.
Principles of sensory environments
Our analysis identified 6 themes and 15 subthemes that autistic people reported can make locations such as supermarkets or train stations easier or more difficult to visit. When analysing these, people identified that many of these factors often overlap with one another, and it can be the combination of these working together which make a space more difficult to engage with.
For each of the different themes we have identified a set of questions for business owners and organisations about ways they could reduce the impact of each theme to support autistic people.
Our analysis identified five key locations which can be more challenging due to their sensory environment. These were: supermarkets, eateries (restaurants and cafés), high streets and town/city centres, public transport, and healthcare settings (e.g. GP surgeries and hospitals).
For each of the different locations we have identified a set of questions for business owners and organisations about ways they could make their spaces more autism friendly.
What is next for Sensory Street?
Now we have finished analysing the data from the focus groups, we are excited to analyse the social media posts in more detail to identify whether the information follows similar trends. We are also hoping to submit a journal article for publication in 2022.
Over the next few months we are looking forward to designing and developing our immersive public engagement event for August 2021. This event aims to be a place where we can share information about what we have learnt during this project in a creative and interesting way. We also want to give people the opportunity to experience what it is like to experience certain public spaces as an autistic person as well as educate businesses and other organisations about how they could support autistic people within their spaces.