circle split into six sections on a dark yellow background. one section titled 'recovery' is highlighted. this section is split into two parts labelled 'no space to escape’ and ‘unable to recover and prepare'

“I think that having like a quiet room can apply to like so many different places, even places like concerts, concert halls and things like that, and I think a lot of people might think, well, if you have these sound sensitivities then why would you be going to a concert. But I think that we should have, like the equal opportunity to still like enjoy those things, but also have kind of, a backup area if we get overwhelmed”

Focus group Participant

Across our focus groups people identified the importance of having time to recover from more challenging sensory environments. This included:

  • Being able to take breaks away from overwhelming sensory input to recover and prepare
  • The need for designated spaces in public places to escape from sensory input

People noted how being able to take short breaks to recover from overwhelming sensory environments and prepare to carry on can help to make more difficult locations more accessible. They described the challenges of feeling trapped in environments with sustained negative sensory input, and how helpful it could be for locations to have a place to sit which was quieter with fewer people to recover in.

Questions for businesses and organisations to think about:

  • Do you have a quiet/safe space that people can use? How can people access this space?
  • Are these spaces clearly signposted/marked? If it is a larger space, are there multiple locations they can use?
  • Are they able to continue to engage with the activity when in this space? For example, listening to the concert but at a reduced volume?
  • Are people able to take short breaks and then return to your location? If in a larger space such as a museum, are they able to leave midway through by request and return to the same location or will they have to start from the beginning again?
  • If someone has to wait for something in your location (e.g. in a doctor’s surgery) do they have to wait in your location? Is it possible for them to be able to go to another nearby location and be messaged (e.g. by text/phone call) when they need to return?

For more information on the other themes identified, click on the images or their captions below…

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