Why need a sensory-friendly solution?
Why sensory-friendly? First, as you may know, I was an occupational therapist for more than 25 years. A few years ago, a call from a public health organization made me think. It asked for innovative solutions to improve population health. Furthermore, it gave examples of how LEED certifications for buildings and walkability scores improve the health of people living in communities.
I thought, “I want to solve a problem for people with sensory sensitivity.” What is more, I wanted to harness the power of technology to solve that problem too. Besides, I know we can use technology to solve a daily-life problem. I don’t see anyone else with the solution. Not occupational therapy. Nor education. Finally, not even health care. While more and more events, locations, products, and services are sensory-friendly. Moreover, more people look for those sensory-friendly experiences. Finally, and thankfully, many people, businesses and organizations help and influence events, locations, products, and services to adopt sensory-friendly practices.
Picture this; you go out to the newest, trendiest restaurant in town with your friends and family. What you thought was going to be a great evening?
It was not. You did not enjoy it. Marred by the fact that not only is it popular and packed, but with the flashing lights on the walls, an open kitchen, an open concept, exposed brick, and ductwork, you could not converse with your dinner companions over the noise. Nor could you ignore the many distractions. You’ve likely experienced something like that.
That experience marred by busy, noisy and bright is an everyday occurrence for 1/3 of the population (that’s our rough math of all the groups of people who report or self-identify with additional sensory sensitivity or sensory overload). Those are people with autism, anxiety, PTSD, concussion, hearing loss, and many other chronic conditions. Sensory sensitivity happens in a world that is increasingly busy, noisy and bright.
Furthermore, that 1/3 of the population who are sensory sensitive. Many of those underlying conditions are being diagnosed at increasing rates.
And there is more. For example, in May of 2019, “sensory overload” was being searched on Google 27, 000 times a month. In November of 2019, “sensory overload” was being searched 33, 000 times a month.
Moreover, we searched the number of Google News items around just 5 possible data points has increased exponentially in the last 5 years. The results? From negligible in 2015 to 698 by mid-November of this year.
Google News Alerts alone identified 75 sensory-friendly events or locations in North America in just 7 days. I know because I counted!
So why a sensory-friendly solution?
Well, we use technology to pool sensory-friendly information from everyone and everywhere. As a first step, we put them in the Sensory-Friendly Finder.
If needed and asked, we step in to fill the gap to influence events, locations, products, and services to become sensory-friendly. We are grateful there are many other people, organizations, and businesses influencing the world to adopt sensory-friendly too.
We all want the same thing: more sensory-friendly.
Do you know of a sensory-friendly champion? Read this blog post and get a certificate of appreciation to share.
Want to advocate for a business or an organization to become sensory-friendly. Download an advocacy letter you can edit and use.
Christel Seeberger worked as an occupational therapist for more than 25 years helping people with sensory sensitivity who experience sensory overload. Christel has sensory sensitivity herself; she has hearing loss and wears hearing aids. She founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016. Sensory Friendly Solutions brings together people around the world looking for sensory friendly living and businesses and organizations who offer sensory friendly experiences.