In 2021 we ran a series of seven focus groups with autistic people to learn more about public spaces that can be more difficult sensory environments. We also wanted to find out what makes those spaces more challenging and/or less accessible for autistic people. We used an approach called content analysis to identify which locations people regularly identify as being more challenging than others.
“I think neurotypical people don’t realise that when we’re trying not to show a sensory environment is affecting us, because we don’t want to be perceived to be “difficult” about asking for the lights to be turned off or for the radio to be turned down, it really drains us”Member of the Focus group
We identified five key locations which can be more challenging due to their sensory inputs. These were: supermakets, eateries (restaurants and cafés), high streets and town/city centres, public transport, and healthcare settings (e.g. GP surgeries and hospitals).
To learn more about each of these locations, including questions to help businesses think about how they could better support autistic people in their spaces, click on the images or their captions below.
We also explored whether these locations were also identified through questions on our social media channels. Learn more on our page comparing the locations identified in the social media posts and in our focus groups.