Quiet hours accommodate sensory differences in community

Man wearing noise cancelling headphones amidst a busy environment

An increasing number of Australian businesses, venues and events are accommodating the needs of people with sensory differences.

Many people who are neurodiverse, who live with conditions such as autism, can have difficulty processing sensory information.

According to Autism Tasmania, they can be either hypersensitive (over-reactive) or hypo sensitive (under-reactive) to sensory input, or experience fragmented or distorted perceptions.

A person’s responses to sensory experiences may fluctuate from one day to the next.

Some days they may seek out certain sensory experiences but on other days they may actively avoid that same experience.

It can become regularly challenging for people with sensory differences to venture into the community to do tasks like grocery shopping.

Sensory overwhelm can occur, affecting any of the five senses – touch, smell, sight, taste and sound.

Why inclusion is important

Modifications to some of a venue’s features such as lighting, sound and temperature can help ease any sensory stress.

For people who live with sensory differences, visiting the movies, going out for a meal, attending events, and travelling can quickly become overwhelming.

Which, over time, can contribute to feelings of social isolation for people affected by this issue.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • ADHD
  • Brain injury
  • Dementia
  • Sensory processing disorder
  • Anxiety and other mental health conditions
  • Blindness and low vision
  • Hearing loss and deafness
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD (c-PTSD)

Modifying small aspects of everyday experiences makes a venue more welcoming and inclusive.

We’ve put together a list of venues and events which make sensory friendly accommodations for people with disability:

Would you like to add to our list?

Let us know your favourite sensory-friendly businesses and experiences on social media – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.