How do the sensory aspects of an environment impact autistic people’s experiences of that space?
How can we educate people about sensory processing differences and inspire them to make public places more enabling for autistic people?
These are the questions that our project Sensory Street aims to answer. From spring 2021 to spring 2022 we collected data from autistic people to learn more about their views and experiences of public places, and we were excited to work with the autistic community to create an event in August 2022 to help people learn more how businesses can support people with sensory processing differences.
How did we learn more about Sensory Processing Difficulties in autistic people?
In 2021 we spoke to autistic adults in a series of online focus groups and asked people to answer a range of questions on our social media pages. We also worked with staff at a special school to learn more about how sensory processing difficulties affects their autistic children’s experiences of public spaces such as supermarkets and restaurants.
We have now analysed all of this data and more information is available on our pages about our findings including what themes make a location more or less enabling and which spaces can be more challenging than others. We have used this information to help design and create an event which explores these concepts in more detail.
From the 19-20th of August we held an event at PEARL in Dagenham. We worked with our partner Sensory Spectacle to create an event which explores the sensory experiences of people in public places from our focus groups. The event aimed to help inform people who come into day-to-day contact with autistic people about sensory processing differences and how businesses and individuals can help to make these spaces more enabling.