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What does it mean to be an autistic person with sensory processing difficulties? How do sensory aspects of an environment impact autistic people? How can we help people learn about what sensory processing difficulties are like?
These are the questions we are asking at Sensory Street, a research project at the University of Oxford. Our Wellcome Trust funded project aims to work with the autistic community in creating an immersive event to help people learn more about sensory processing difficulties in a creative and interesting way.

How are we going to learn more about Sensory Processing Difficulties in autistic people?

We are particularly interested in learning more about what sensory aspects of different public places (e.g. shops, restaurants and hairdressers) most affect autistic people.

Over the next few months we are planning to speak to a range of autistic people about their sensory experiences. We are also planning on working with autistic children, including those who do not use words. Once we have collected all the results, we will analyse the responses and use this to help us create our immersive event in 2022.

Click on the links below to find out more about how we are planning on working with autistic adults and children and how you can get involved.

Working with Autistic Adults

Working with Autistic ChildrenWe are currently awaiting ethical approval. Once we have ethical approval we will post further details about how you can get involved here. Subscribe to our blog, follow or contact us to receive updates about the project and learn more about how you can get involved.

How will we help autistic children to have a say?

As identified by the UN Convention of the rights of the child, every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in matters that affect them. Therefore, we want autistic children to have the opportunity to have a say about their sensory experiences in public places. When researchers work with autistic children, including those who may not use words, it is important that we use a variety of ways to help them express themselves. As in previous studies, we plan to use a multimodal approach and hope to incorporate teaching staff and parents/carers. Catherine from our research team is a specialist speech and language therapist and is designing our resource packs to include symbols, signing and more….

Immersive Event

Once we have learnt about autistic people’s experiences of public places, we will be working with our partners to create ‘sensory street’, an immersive experience where shops, hairdressing salons and leisure places are transformed into sensory experiences based on descriptions of difficulties faced by autistic individuals. The event aims to help inform people who come into day-to-day contact with autistic people about sensory processing differences. We will be working with Sensory Spectacle to create our immersive event alongside our other collaborators.

For more information about immersive learning click here

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