A new survey suggests that shops, restaurants and supermarkets need to be made more accessible for those with autism.
An online poll conducted by Dimensions revealed that many people with autism find public spaces challenging because they are not designed with their needs in mind and because staff do not understand their needs.
Of the 250 people who voted, 32 per cent said they would like to see restaurants made more accessible, while 27 per cent called for supermarkets, and 17 per cent leisure centres, to be made easier to negotiate. Shops received ten per cent of the vote, theatres nine per cent and sporting or other events, such as fireworks displays, four per cent.
Many respondents called for extra autism-specific training for staff working in services across a wide range of sectors, including retail, leisure, hospitality, health and education.
Crowded and noisy areas can be particularly problematic for many people with autism. “Accessibility is not just about wheelchairs and ramps”, says Lisa Hopkins of Dimensions, “...businesses and services can become more accessible by listening to the experiences of the autism community.”
The organisation hopes that its survey’s findings will lead to a wider debate about how environments can be adapted to make them less challenging for someone that with autism.
For more information and to view the comments of survey respondents, visit: