Sensory friendly initiatives aim to create predictable, controlled environments for individuals with sensory processing difficulties. For example, a sensory friendly movie screening might involve turning down the sound volume, raising the lights, and allowing individuals to get up from their seats and move around during the showing. These adjustments can help to create an inclusive environment for individuals with sensory sensitivities, such as people with autism.
Autism is a complex neurobiological condition which affects many elements of a person's daily life, from sensory processing to social cognition. Autism is a spectrum condition - which means that we all have some degree of autistic traits! - and no two individuals are alike - while one person might never develop spoken language, another might have incredible language skills, but many differences in social cognition. 1/59 individuals in the United States have a diagnosis of autism today.
90% of people with autism report difficulties in sensory processing, which can make certain experiences or environments uncomfortable or overstimulating. For many individuals, these difficulties in sensory processing make it difficult to participate in typical community spaces - such as crowded shopping malls, movie theaters, etc. - where the sensory environment can often be overwhelming.
Sensory UV is a partnership between the Upper Valley Dartmouth Autism Research Initiative (DARI), the Hartford Autism Regional Program (HARP), the Special Needs Support Center (SNSC), and Keene Perspectives. We create sensory friendly events in an effort to strengthen the autism community and autism awareness in the UV.