How can anyone learn or teach? Experiences of autistic people with sound in schools and universities

Carmen Rosas-Pérez, Laurent Galbrun, Mary E. Stewart, Sarah R. Payne

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


An inadequate sound environment in schools and universities can lead to poorer learning, higher levels of stress and worse overall well-being, ultimately affecting people’s careers and opportunities. These short- and long-term impacts can be more accentuated in autistic students, teachers, and lecturers, as autistic and other neurodivergent people tend to have significant perceptual and sensory processing differences. This paper presents the data from our study on the experience of autistic people in daily life acoustic environments related to this topic. The study explored the experiences of 12 autistic adults through reflective thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews, providing much-needed first-hand perspectives on main challenges, impact, and common coping strategies. The results highlight the crucial importance that good acoustics has for the participants, some of whom are or have been teachers and lecturers. They also illustrate how the lack of better acoustic practices and understanding of their experiences, together with some trends like open-plan schools and offices, have had a disabling impact throughout their life since childhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A128
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3_supplement
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023
Event184th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America 2023 - Chicago, United States
Duration: 8 May 202312 May 2023


  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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