Disabling Locations

“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

In 2021 we ran a series of seven focus groups with autistic people to learn more about specific public spaces that can be more difficult sensory environments. We also wanted to find out what it is that makes these 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.

We identified five key locations which can be more challenging due to their sensory enviroment. 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 you could better support autistic people in these spaces, click on the images or their captions below.

We also explored whether these same 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.

Ethics Approval Reference: R74960/RE001

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