As we commemorate autism awareness month, let us embrace the Autism Society's challenge to go beyond autism awareness and learn to accept and appreciate individuals with autism.
One way to increase acceptance is by fostering autism friendly spaces. According to the organization Autism Friendly Spaces Unlocking Minds and Spaces - A space is autism friendly when it accommodates and supports the sensory, communication, and social/emotional needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Being autism friendly is different from being sensory friendly. While individuals with autism benefit from adjustments to sensory (noise, smells, and visual) stimuli, being autism friendly also requires making adjustments that support challenges with language, social skills, and repetitive/rigid behaviors. Making something autism friendly also requires the introduction of visual supports to make the environment more predictable and address challenges with transitions, as well as tools to address difficulties with social interaction and perspective taking.
To learn more about autism please refer to the autism society link below. To find out more about autism friendly spaces visit autismfriendlyspaces.org.