I posed this question on twitter:
#AskingAutistics Have you ever gone to something that said it was sensory-friendly but wasn’t? That is to say, what they consider to be sensory-friendly is triggering? @NeuroRebel
— Margaux AKA Retro (@artfulretro) October 22, 2018
The response was overwhelming. It seems a lot of people tend to agree with me.
A number of venues will offer, what they consider to be “sensory friendly” events which they believe caters to those who are Autistic and yes -it does cater to some, but certainly not all.
According to AMC (who works with Autism Speaks) this is how they define their sensory friendly film program:
AMC Theatres in 2007 started the AMC Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society to bring a unique movie experience to our community! As part of the program the film showings have their lights turned up and the sound turned down.
My thoughts on something where the lights are on and the sound is down: Terrible. Just awful. For me, not being able to hear dialogue and having bright lights in my face would not be sensory friendly. I function best when the lights are off or there is natural lighting. Each and every person on the spectrum is different and their ways of mentally processing incoming sensations are all unique to each person. You can’t simply say something is Sensory Friendly and use it as a blanket statement. I believe a better term would be Sensory Aware and a disclaimer that would say something like “this isn’t sensory friendly for every autistic person or person with sensory processing difficulties” would be highly beneficial. It’s just another step towards inclusion or at least a better understanding of what Neurodiversity is.