https://gogetfunding.com/ar-sensory-pod/ (a sensory/silent space)4e39726b261b4046bafad9f484a7c6505356a98a3d7e470388feec7aaa28ec3cac8574a12b7841a890fa611f9b63ad52-copy

AR sensory Pod

Concept

The initial concept arose from my experiences of attending conferences and exhibitions to deliver talks. A memorable example was The Autism Show at Excel London. A bright, open-plan, noisy, crowded, busy venue. I asked where the quiet room was located and was told to find the floor manager who would then give me a key. I could then try to locate the “quiet room” which was, in fact, just an empty room. Considering this is marketed as the national event for autism, I was flabbergasted!

When having a sensory meltdown it is impossible to process anything.  Read the text below to gain a simplified idea.

It is impossible to find someone, particularly a stranger, in order to obtain a key. It is impossible to find a specific room in an open space.  You are not aware of where you are. People are jostling, poking, shouting. The lights start flickering.  The noise is overwhelming. Waves of sensory chaos crush you. Your fight/flight response goes into overdrive. You are no longer in control of your own place within that environment.

A similar thing happened at an outside charity music festival; there was simply nowhere close by to get some quiet time and to escape the over stimulating environment.

At the festival, it became obvious that this problem does not just affect autistics but many others. For example, those with anxiety or other mental health conditions and sensory difficulties, or for those who simply need a de-stressor from the high-tempo experience.

You need to remove yourself from the sensory overload. During a meltdown, your overwhelming need is to escape, whatever the cost. You may shout, you may scream, cry, or even lash out. There is no way to prevent this happening.  There is no turning back.

But - by the time you have reached this point, it is pretty much ‘game over’ - the result for many would be a total shutdown; the fuse has tripped and you become a husk, a zombie, switched off.

The pod creates a vessel or space to reset or reboot. It will provide a safe environment to collect ones’ thoughts or simply to stop altogether to calm down and relax.

The idea was simple - if a venue has no such space why not create a portable space, one which can be incorporated anywhere.

The product

A sleek, ovoid pod, with an outward-opening door and small wheels to allow easy repositioning and transportation.

It is essential that the occupant feels secure within the space and can easily access and exit unaided.

 

Mood lighting

Distractions such as flickering lights or those that hum cause negative sensory effects. The pod is a respite from this, with LED changeable lighting-the occupant needs to be able to have control over their lighting environment.

 

Extensive research into autism and those with sensory processing issues suggest that lighting is essential to well-being. Blue lighting can aid calmness and clarity, red is energizing, green is balancing and creates a sense of harmony, yellow aids positivity, whilst violet can enhance inspiration.

 

Sound

We all react very differently when it comes to how we process our auditory environment. Some need absolute silence whilst others find it uncomfortable –therefore the pod has headphones with a choice of calming music or sounds which include nature sounds and white noise.

 

Air conditioning

Some form of air conditioning or airflow is essential for the welfare and comfort of those inside the Pod

 

Seating

A semi-reclined padded seat (similar to a gaming chair) with a washable cover is easy to clean and maintain.  The reclined position also allows the pod to be situated closer to the ground.

Uses

Public and privates spaces-hospitals Airports/train stations,schools,universities etc libraries,exhibitions ,conferences, and festivals/events

Autism awareness month

Autism awareness month falls in April.

This is a somewhat controversial issue among autism advocates and our community as a whole. What good is autism awareness without autism acceptance?

Autism awareness campaigns by non autistic charities are causing havoc amongst our community as they constantly plug research and cure especially in the good ole US of A where Autism Speaks plies its trade raising huge sums of money and only 4% of its revenue actually goes to supporting autistics a huge amount spent on research and finding a cure and the rest I have no idea whose pockets they line; they spout terms such as "monster", "enemy" and "epidemic".  The National Autism Society (NAS) also looks invests substantial amounts of money on research with seemingly little money going toward supporting autistics, and are the UK governments' leading go-to autism charity.

This means that when information is sought the government turns to the NAS for facts and figures and never approaches the people that really know i.e. us autistics, who are extremely well informed and better qualified to answer their questions.The reasons for this are many and complex and more qualified people could best answer this.

Language

Political Language plays a huge part in how we are perceived in mainstream non autistic circles. It is this language which is also causing many of us distress and harm with terms such as "disorder" and "deficit", "lack of empathy" and "lack of understanding" being bandied about without care and attention to the consequences of such terminology. The government then adopts this terminology which in turn is used by the media. Once language is out there on television, the internet and social media it takes on an accepted status and this is exceptionally difficult to change or reverse.  But change we must, for it is our very existence which is threatened and at stake. Many advocates are endeavoring to make positive changes to stereotypical language and I am proud to be one of them.

Then we have all sorts of crackpot notions which are  plastered around the internet and hailed as fact, and the usual conspiracy theorists start to peddle cures, the anti- vaxxers come out in full shout and buildings are lit up blue by people who have no idea why or what it really means. Finally, when April awareness month finishes all goes quiet apart from us 'auties' who have to work harder each year to convince and argue with those that believe that these charities, by their very existence, must know what they are talking about.

So next year, when April looms, perhaps you will remember that autism is 365 days a year and that supporting 'Light it up Blue' is in fact contributing nothing but pain and hardship to our communities by lining the pockets of charities who contribute so little financially to those really in need namely Autistics.

We are no longer interested or in need of awareness but understanding and Acceptance.

The author of "Light it up Blue" is the founder of Autism Speaks, autistics No.1 enemy.  As demonstrated by the video below.

Now tell me they're our advocates.

I have bought and am converting  a transit van to enable me to deliver Autism talks, training, workshops and attend conferences nationally.  This is the first step of a new project called AutismRolo (Nothing about Autism without Autism).

To date there are almost no post diagnostic services for adults diagnosed with ASC autism spectrum condition; I know this because I am one of them. I am working tirelessly to rectify this whilst tackling the stigma and discrimination in the way that Autism is perceived and dealt with.

My passion and mission is to get on the road and start a conversation from an autistic perspective highlighting the huge talent pool that is going to waste due to the fear and misunderstanding of our neurodivergence.  Secondly I wish to bridge the divide between us all and to celebrate differences, combining all our talents (both autistic and non autistic)will serve to create a better more balanced neurodiverse society built on tolerance, understanding, knowledge cooperation and above all acceptance.

I need  a converted van because as an autistic I am severely affected by sensory stimulus and after giving my time to people, I need a safe environment to regroup - I can not use hotels. 

The van will serve as a mini office and enable me to travel further afield, sleep overnight and get to people that live in out of the way places. Without it I can not reach those who are in need.  With your help I can make this happen.

Getting out there is the best way forward.

I will be able to achieve this by:

  • Giving talks to other Autism charities whilst assisting in their training

  • Providing talks seminars, workshops and training in both the public and private sectors

  • Workshops for smaller groups

  • Visiting businesses large and small to encourage employment of Autistic workers whilst providing practical solutions

  • Attending Autism Conferences nationally 

  • Setting up flash workshops in public spaces ( to my knowledge this has not been done before )

  • Addressing mental health issues which means providing advise for both autistics and non-autistics

The cost  to convert was higher than I anticipated but I have aimed for a conservative target . Money pays towards  purchase of transit van conversion costs  insurance mot  tax and running costs which due to a recent Mot failure cost me an additional £1300 

In addition the website costs as do phone calls and printing

I am looking for all types of help  support from donations  to planning and business sponsorship. Finally I would like to say a huge Thank you to Dan & Mel Jackson Bridge for their continued support, help and guidance.They have been with me from the start from diagnosis to here and I am proud to be their friend-unfortunately I had problems with the video so they are not named in the photos