Most public spaces aren’t designed with people with autism in mind. Unfortunately, there are few places that this is more evident than amusement parks, cinemas, and theaters — places intended for entertainment and quality time with family.
Picture the entrance to Disney World, or Universal Studios: Bright, colorful, blinking lights surround the entrance sign. Dramatic orchestral music radiates from speakers in every possible direction: building walls, the sky, the ground. Thousands of people swat at one another with sweaty arms for a place in line. It’s overwhelming for most people.
Now imagine also dealing with sensory sensitivity — one of the most common symptoms of autism. Noise is louder. Lights are brighter. Touch is more potent. At worst, it can be like being trapped inside the THX opening. Sensory sensitivity can make a somewhat hectic environment into something physically painful and emotionally overpowering. Children with autism often have trouble putting this feeling into words, meaning that they may shout or cry.