Did you know April is Autism Acceptance (or Autism Understanding) Month? Its recent name change from "Autism Awareness Month" reflects the widely-held belief that "awareness" of autism is not enough — we must understand, accept, and celebrate the lived experiences of autistic people.

An estimated 1 in 70 people in Australia are on the autism spectrum, including some of our wonderful Members. One of the ways our communities can support autistic people is by creating sensory-friendly spaces.

What do we mean by "sensory-friendly"?

Autistic people think, feel and interact with people and environments in different ways than those who don’t have autism. This means that everyday life can present huge challenges for autistic people. They may find sensory things like smells, sounds, lighting and crowds  overwhelming.

Fortunately, more people and organisations are creating ‘sensory-friendly’ and ‘autism-friendly’ spaces that are adjusted to attune to the needs of people on the autism spectrum. Public spaces, artistic spaces, even shops and supermarkets are making changes to help autistic people get the most out of their environment and enjoy participating in the community as much as everybody else. This may involve changes to lighting and reducing background noise.

This month's sensory-friendly events and activities

To celebrate Autism Acceptance Month, we've put together a list of sensory-friendly activities happening across Australia this month. You can do these by yourself, with a friend, or with a Like Family Social Carer. Let us know if there's any we missed!


A green poster in a supermarket says Quiet Hour: to assist our shoppers with sensory needs, we are making this store a calmer and quieter environment
Look out for Quiet Hour signs at your local Woolies or Coles

16 April – Hoodie Up. Take part in #HoodieUp for Autism, a fundraiser by Amaze. Wearing a hoodie means someone with autism can block out bright lights and busy environments, helping to calm them.

Any day. Coles has introduced Quiet Hour between 6-7pm weekdays across all its supermarkets (or 10:30 to 11:30am for CBD stores). Woolworths is also offering Quiet Hour every Tuesday between 10:30-11:30am in participating stores. Stores will dim their lighting and turn down the volume of registers and radios for an hour to make shopping easier for people on the autism spectrum.

Every Tuesday. Westfield shopping centres are offering an hour of Quiet Time from 10:30 to 11:30am. Lighting will be reduced and the music will be changed to a softer playlist with a lowered volume to create a more sensory-friendly shopping experience.

New South Wales

A group of six smiling people, including one person in a wheelchair, stand in front of a silver sculpture. The MCA building is in the background.
Some of our Members and Social Carers at the MCA

Any day. We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym is a judgement-free safe play gym space for children and their families based in Wetherill Park. Open all week, all year round.

4, 11, 18 April. The Museum of Fire will be having sensory-friendly sessions from 1 to 4:30pm. Flashing lights and loud noises will be turned off to create a safe and quiet environment.

5 April. The Australian Museum is hosting a Sensory-friendly night out for adults. From 6 to 9pm, the Australian Museum will provide a reduced sensory, relaxed and supportive environment along with the chance to get involved in activities such as face painting and silent disco.

23 April. Autism-friendly gallery opening at MCA. From 10:30am t0 12pm the museum will be closed to the general public. This opening is tailored to children with hidden disabilities and their friends and family.

26 April. The Sydney Dance Company is delivering a Sensory-Friendly workshop. From 10:30am to 12:15pm participants will be guided through warm-ups, creative games and contemporary dance choreography in a safe and supported environment.


2 April. Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art will be hosting a Low-sensory event where visitors with autism, sensory sensitivity or disability can experience the exhibitions in a low-sensory environment.

10 April. The Moe Library is hosting a Lego Lab event from 1:00 to 4:00pm. This is a drop-in and free-play event where visitors are encouraged to let their imaginations lead them with the help of a facilitator. The Moe Library is committed to creating an inclusive space. Portable Assistive Learning Systems are available upon request.

Image of lego bricks in multiple colours
Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash

18 April. Come along to Empower Golf Australia's Come and Try Golf Clinic at Meadowbrook. The free clinic is open to players of all abilities. You'll get to try the amazing ParaGolfer and other adaptive equipment.

Any day. The Queensland Museum designed SparkLab as an interactive and accessible space for everyone. The museum also offers a quiet space for those who need a place to relax during their visit.


A man in a grey shirt and blue shorts is running on an oval, followed by a man in a red jacket and navy tracksuit pants
If you like outdoor sports, check out the All Abilities Come and Try Day at Boroondara Sports Complex

Any day. The Melbourne Museum call themselves the Autism Friendly Museum. You can explore the range of facilities they have to help children on the spectrum.

4 April. Storytelling Session with author Julie Dascoli. Local author Julie Dascoli will read her book, "That Boy," about the journey toward acceptance and inclusion for children living with autism.

13, 14 April.  Village Cinemas is hosting a sensory-friendly screening of “Wonka". Lights will be dimmed and sound will be turned down to create a safe environment. The show will also have fewer advertisements during the beginning.

27, 28 April. If watching animals use Kung Fu to save the world is more your style, Village Cinemas will also be holding a sensory-friendly screening of Kung Fu Panda 4.

24 April. Come and Try Golf Clinics. Empower Golf is welcoming people of all abilities to play golf at the Rossdale Golf Club. Whether you're a new player or a former player looking to get back into the sport, this event is a safe environment to get involved.

And for when you’re out and about...Aspect (Autism Spectrum Australia) has recently introduced the Autism Alert Card which is designed to assist autistic people in communicating their need for support to others in situations that might be challenging.

Book a sensory-friendly Activity with Like Family

Whether you have autism or care for someone on the spectrum, we hope you’ve been inspired to get out and see what Autism Acceptance Month can offer.

If you're a Like Family Member and would like to attend one (or more) of these events, post an Activity and we'll help match you with a great Social Carer. If you're a Social Carer, see if one of your regular Members would be interested in attending one of these events with you!

A note about language: this article uses identity-first language in line with the preferences of many autistic individuals and Australian organisations. We recognise that different preferences exist, and are deeply individual. If you'd like to learn more about language choices around autism, check out this great resource by AutismCRC.