London for kids with autism couldn’t be more of a contradiction. Hordes wading along busy pavements, sifting in and out of tube stations. Chaotic, unpredictable, and crowded venues are no-one’s friend. Add visual sensitivity, unpredictability and overwhelming smells — plus plenty of angst-inducing strangers — and you could have all the ingredients for a rubbish day out. But this need not be the case.
Much of London is now switched on to neurodivergent visitors. With just a little planning, you can have some fantastic days out, thanks to relaxed performances, sensory rooms, quiet opening times, apps to help you travel during quieter times, queue ‘jumping’, dimmed lighting, separate opening times and more.
As my own daughter — an autistic 13-year-old — says, “I love the way London is so inclusive — they make space for everyone and I feel welcome, I don’t feel like I shouldn’t be there. London appreciates people for who they are.”