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

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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.

 

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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.

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I’m Childfree.

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When I was younger, other kids would play with dolls. I didn’t care for them. I had no instinct to play with toys that were reminiscent of future motherhood. I preferred hot wheels, crazy bones, reading books and once in a while I pulled the heads off my sisters Barbie dolls. When I got older, Pokemon was all the rage and you’d often find me on my lime green game boy colour. The motherly instinct never arrived and I was completely fine by that.


I was with my family at an outdoor square yesterday and as everyone was conversing, there was this lady with her crying infant. The screams tore through me like the feeling of walking on shards of glass. It was immensely painful to listen to. I couldn’t take the shrill, repetitive noises. I felt just as though I was going to get the worst migraine ever. I started feeling anxious, panicked and ready to leave. At this point, I wished I had a pair of some really good sound cancelling headphones or a pair of earplugs that filter all the sound out. My sensitivity to loud noises was being tested and I was feeling very frantic. I just wanted it to stop, so badly.

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I have never seen myself as a Mother. Hell, I don’t even consider myself very feminine.

Having a child and having those responsibilities is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There’s a lot of financial resources needed and a lot of time, effort and stress – none of which I even would remotely ever want to take on. I am happy being an Aunt to two wonderful kids.

I also absolutely love, love, love my rescue cats. They fill any kind of need I may have to be nurturing, without making me compromise who I am. I love their pink jellybean toes, cute noses and small tiger-like qualities. They are my little house lions.

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It’s not like I don’t support other people’s children. (Doesn’t even matter if I want to or not) It’s mandatory as it is included in taxes which are then given back in the forms of tax rebates if you have children.  There are also a lot of politicians touting free childcare as part of their campaign promises to lure voters.

girl crying on woman s lap

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This will NEVER be me – and I am beyond pleased to say it.


For more reading on this subject, please check out:

Public Transportation

woman standing in bus

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Taking transit requires me to mask, even if I don’t think about it.

I am forced to take on traits that are seemingly exclusive for those who are classified as neurotypical. I have to be confident, organized and seemingly comfortable with everything around me.

The crowds, the chatter, the uneven lighting, the sound of the skytrain screeching along the tracks, the announcements, rude bus drivers, the varying smells and sometimes putrid odors. It may very well seem like i am complaining but I am constantly reminded that the world  is not built for me. I am left handed and i’m autistic – which can feel like a double whammy.

Often times, when i am exposed to many different sensory inputs, I must decompress. I have to sleep a whole lot and often times I don’t feel like talking. My attention span suffers too, i can’t even sit through a 22 minute episode of a television show that I usually enjoy. I have to commend myself through the carsickness that seems to overcome me a whole lot recently.

I am constantly reminded of how hard merely existing is. It makes me incredibly fatigued.

 

Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs Review!

Sound sensitivity is something I have been dealing with my entire life.

Vibes are LIFE CHANGING!

For more information: http://www.discovervibes.com

*received complimentary in exchange for my review