Author: Marie Lauzon, B.I.D. – December 17, 2019 version
Accessibility Checklist for Autistic and Neuroatypical Individuals
The following list contains things to consider when assessing the accessibility of spaces or activities according to the needs of Autistic, hypersensitive or otherwise neuroatypical individuals. Note that this list is intended to complement the common needs covered by Universal Accessibility.
When planning events or setting up venues, this checklist may be useful for maximizing accessibility, as well as alerting participants ahead of time when a potential obstacle cannot be avoided (e.g. loud sound during a music show).
For existing spaces, an on-site visit will be useful for assessing possible barriers. This information will then help atypical people know what to expect and be able to better decide how to plan an activity, or choose to avoid it.
It should be noted that the traits, sensitivities and challenges of Autistic or other neuroatypical individuals vary greatly. For example, an Autistic person may be comfortable with noise, but avoid physical contact at all cost. Another may have no issues with physical proximity or contact, and be unable to speak when many people are present. The variations are infinite! This list aims to catalogue all potential obstacles according to individual needs.
Potential Obstacles – Sensory, Motor or Functional
- High volume noise (e.g. highway, school, airport, public event)
- Sudden or unexpected noises (e.g. bus stop, construction)
- Repetitive sounds
- Loud voices (emcee, children) or loud music
- Bright or flashing lights, or event in full sunlight
- Flash photography or strobe lighting
- Fluorescent lighting (neon lights)
- No natural light
- High level of visual movement (objects or people)
- Strong odors/chemical smells/body odors/perfume
- Food smells
- Mechanical ventilation (e.g. pushed air system, fans)
- Air conditioning/no air conditioning
- Heated/no heating
- Crowds or full rooms/busy venue
- Physical contact expected (e.g. partner dances, games)
- Socializing expected (e.g. introductions, discussions)
- Unstable surface (e.g. moving floor, boat)
- Rugged or slanted ground, stairs
- Swimming activities: pool or lake, and description (algae, fish, mud, temperature, etc.)
- Presence of insects (mosquitos, bees, spiders, etc.)
- Presence of animals (dogs, cats, cows, horses, etc.)
- Other :
Site Information for Personal Planning
- Expected cost
- Public washrooms
- Water fountain or water/drinks sold on site
- Food on site: none/free/for sale
- Type of food:
- Planned food restrictions (intolerances/allergies/vegan)
- Are specially prepared meals possible?
- Schedule available ahead of time
- Planned breaks between activities
- Option to not participate (without consequences)
- Possibility to take a break alone
- Quiet area away from event for breaks (indoors/outdoors)
- Seated events: Are there sitting options? (e.g. on floor, alone vs group)
- Seated events: Is standing/pacing acceptable?
- Accommodation: Private or shared rooms and bathrooms/bunk beds
- Public transportation to site available
- Parking available
- Holiday resort/camp: on-site transportation available
- Venue accepts support animals (dog/cat/rat/etc.) other than certified service animals
For Conferences, Conventions, Fairs, etc.
- Is seating at tables or in rows? (For note-taking, social interactions, etc.)
- Are films or videos subtitled?
- For speakers: Which type of microphone is used (wireless/fixed/handheld/ear piece)?
- For speakers: Is the presentation given standing or sitting, with or without a podium or a table?
- Roundtables, forums, etc.: Topics and questions provided in advance
- Available technology (e.g. projector, screen, microphone, etc.)
This is an ongoing project and items will be added as time goes on. Your comments and ideas are always welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Josée Filion, Marla Cable and the kind members of Aspie Québec for their ideas and suggestions.
Citation: Lauzon, Marie. Accessibility Checklist for Autistic and Neuroatypical People. Montreal, December 17, 2019. Online: https://irmazoulane.wordpress.com/2019/12/17/accessibility-checklist-for-autistic-and-neuroatypical-people/
[List of sources to be added]