Why “Sensory Friendly” Isn’t always what it seems.

man wearing black headphones beside train rail

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I posed this question on twitter:

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.

 

multi colored chairs in row

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

photo of head bust print artwork

Photo by meo on Pexels.com

Advertisements

Lighting woes.

I was so excited for my job, picking up where I left off and continuing to share my passion of all things art with customers. It’s a complete joy for me. My previous location with this same company, the lighting was excellent: round bulbs mostly of the halogen variety lining the aisles. This time, i’m exposed to fluorescent lighting in a wiry cage. I so badly want to be able to carry out the tasks required of me but it’s incredibly difficult when I am exposed to something so sickening, both mentally and physically. I am trying so hard to pull through but I just don’t know what to do. The depression and the anxiety set in real deep and I am beginning to feel like there’s nothing I can do anymore.

I’m tired. I’m full of anguish. I feel defeated and unreliable.

 

Fluorescent lighting, go away.

Fluorescent lighting is, perhaps, one of the things I hate most. It causes so much interference with my life and makes me feel miserable. There’s humming and flickering. I have felt faint, I have felt wobbly and I have lost some opportunities as well.

I understand that businesses use this lighting because it’s cheap but it’s always telling me to hurry up and get out. Studies confirm that fluorescent lighting definitely affects mood and health. 

Yes, i’m Autistic. Most workplaces have this kind of lighting. I’m lucky enough that the place i’m working now does NOT have it. I have to basically determine workplaces that would be suitable based on lighting, amongst other factors. Could you imagine how many workplaces this would eliminate?.

I have light sensitivity and other sensory sensitivities and it’s so hard to deal with. I am usually in a room with no lighting on and the windows opened. I can deal with soft sunlight but even if i’m outside, I will, most likely, need my sunglasses.

I wish there was a cheap alternative that wasn’t so harsh and horrible.