Hello
Accepting the diversity of humans means also accepting the autistics.
I am an autistic (so-called "Asperger") and I use to host guests with AirBNB and they are happy (and me too).
I would like to host autistics, and to help AirBNB (and hosts) to understand how to be autistic-friendly.
This is a vast subject.
I am a specialist of autism (I mean that I understand autism, which is not the same thing as what is generally thought and spread).
After hosting all kinds of persons during about 11 months, I found that I'm more open and less "afraid" of meeting (and hosting) unknown persons.
AirBNB revenues are helping us to pay the rent for our headquarters for our autistics organization (the apartment).
It is highly important for the autistics to be able to travel and to do new experiences.
But it can be very challenging, both for them and for the hosts, if there are no appropriate accommodations, starting with some understanding of autism.
Not to mention that some people don't even know that they are autistic...
Maybe someone from AirBNB can react to this message.
Thanks for reading.

27 Replies

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Tampa, FL
Level 4

This is a very interesting topic.

 

My grandson is autistic and has a host of 15 different Airbnb units my concern is that with many cities in Florida attempting to clamp down on short term rentals and prohibit companies like Airbnb from operating, they are limiting the choices that families with autistic family members have to stay when traveling. My office manager has an autistic child. My cleaner works with Daughter who is in the early 20s and also has autism. My attorney has 2 autistic grandkids, so we are surrounded with people who have autistic family members and so we understand their needs.

 

As more and more cities in Florida clamp down on Airbnb’s and prevent them from operating, it removes the choices that families have when they need to stay in a quiet home environment.

 

When we travel with the family we generally stay in Airbnb’s because of the homely environment that it creates for people and family members on the spectrum

 

We are looking to try and put a petition together to petition our state of Florida to override the cities limitations they are placing on short term rentals therefore hopefully protecting families like ours was autistic members so we can accommodate their travel needs.

 

while doing some research on the needs of autistic travelers I also came across the needs of religious travelers who prefer to stay in Airbnb‘s because of their religious address and or food needs. One person commented to me that it is much more peaceful and coming for them to stay in an Airbnb when dressed in religious clothing and they do not have to struggle to find restaurants that can accommodate their religious food needs and staying in a Airbnb where they can cook for the entire family it’s just so much simpler and less stressful.

 

at the same time I was contacted about the LGBTQ community and asked if I was willing to put my properties on their site as a safe haven for folks in this group ensuring them safe and peaceful accommodation where they are not persecuted or ridiculed for their sexual identification.

 

I was not aware that this group also faces major challenges when traveling because they are often persecuted in other types of accommodation or hosts who do not feel comfortable helping hosting people who belong to this community. We signed up immediately with them.

 

So while autism is definitely one of the groups that we definitely would like to assist because it is so close to us, they are also other groups who are restricted or will be restricted by these types of rulings.

 

Any input from community members who can help with this would be most welcome. 

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Level 2

Hello, thanks a lot for these informative thoughts...

Well, in theory, we (Autistan.org) could support those petitions or other actions against the restrictions that you mentioned.

But this has to be done in the framework of a global perspective.

As long as AirBNB will ignore our requests for discussions about that subject (being autistic-friendly but also the benefits of being a high functioning autistic as a host (perfectionism...), and also the benefits of receiving many different guests (allowing to be more "flexible" and "social"), it is difficult to do anything.

My purpose here is to discuss with AirBNB appropriate person(s).

Instead of that, they just propose to discuss in a forum, which - with all due respect to the participants - is interesting but is not useful to reach the goal.

That nonsense has been lasting for 3 years and 8 month now...

But people think that it is us, the autistic people, who don't want to communicate...

I see refusals of communication by non-autistic people everyday...

Autistic specialist of autism

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Level 2

Hello AirBNB, I have asked to be put in touch with AirBNB's Diversity and Inclusion department to provide advice on autism.

Despite trying to do so for several years, I have still not been put in touch.

Instead, I was directed to this community discussion forum, but despite some interesting discussions, I don't see how it can help make that connection to improve things "from above" (and not by "slogging it out" which would take thousands of years, at this rate).

What are the obstacles, and why is it so difficult for this company to communicate?

Thank you.

Eric LUCAS
https://Autistan.org

Autistic specialist of autism

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Austin, TX
Level 2

Hi Eric ! I am still super interested in this topic as mom to six year old amazing autist! I always want to prioritize the voices and leadership of actually autistic and other neurodivergent individuals- will be checking out your website and would love to stay in touch on this one! -Julie

Re: Being autistic-friendly

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Hi @Eric529, welcome to the Community!

 

It's lovely to meet you and very cool to know you're interested in raising awareness in order to ensure guests on the spectrum have better experiences when travelling.

 

I'm sure the Community would love to learn from you. How about starting a new topic about this?

 

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

I look forward to reading you contributions to the Community 🙂

 

Thanks,

Liv

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Level 2

Hello Liv, thanks a lot.

Well... What can I say...

I've been repeating the same thing in the current thread for more than 3 years and 8 months...

Please don't take it personally, but...

 

Almost 4 years with the feeling of talking in the desert (while my explanations are very accurate and clear)...
And not to mention the many attempts that I already made with the "support team"...

And today, you propose to restart a new topic on the very same subject that I created on 15.01.18....

There has been absolutely no improvement...

Only communication efforts from the side of the autistic people (here, I'm referring to the rare ones who are trying to explain things), and not enough attention from the part of the "targets" of the communication.

I came here and opened this thread, simply after having tried a lot to obtain a dialog from the AirBNB people in charge of inclusion and diversity.

In fact, maybe they simply do not exist...

I'm not here to "raise awareness" within a forum, no (although people are cool here).

I'm here because this is the only "solution" that the support has provided in response to the request for discussions by our organization.

We need humaneness and real, proper, accurate considerate attention.

Sorry to be bitter, but 3 years and 8 months without any result, it is long.

Thanks anyway.

Autistic specialist of autism

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Austin, TX
Level 2

Sigh , Im so sorry it’s gone this way. I was just thinking that it would take big media coverage or something to get the right people to pay attention /: 

 

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Liv  With all due respect, did you even read Eric's post? You completely ignored what he had said.

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Villard-sur-Doron, France
Level 2

Changes like this come from the bottom up. Hosts have to do it, if there’s a market for it, Airbnb will do something. Have an appartement with a lot of equipment to help and entertain autism, adhd and high potential kids. Would love to have your opinions on it from the autism perspective. 

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Level 2

Thank you for this opinion.

Well, "changes from the bottom up" are certainly useful, but how many centuries will they take ? 🙂

From my experience as an activist, the most efficient changes come from the top, not from the bottom. The bottom is useful to convince the top...

There are even some changes that will never come, if there is no decision from the top. For example : the accessibility of AirBNB support system (in terms of communication).
If no one "at the top" understand the difficulties, then nothing will improve, and the staff will never really listen, simply because they are not trained for that.

Unfortunately, the USA did not sign the UN CRPD...
However, AirBNB operates in many countries where the CRPD has been signed, which means that AirBNB has to make efforts to be accessible for all kinds of disabilities, as they claim in their website.

The "changes from the bottom" can come when there are many many people demanding.
But for the minorities, is goes much slower.
That's why there are activists.
They try to make "shortcuts" so that the people "at the top" can eventually hear the voices which are inaudible or that they consider not important.

Once a dialog is possible, then we can explain the many benefits of a true understanding of autism and its peculiarities, and how to "convert" that in the policies of the company, and how to implement it concretely and accurately.
We can show them the benefits of all that for the travellers, for the hosts (in particular hosts with mild autism), but also for the image of the company (which means more $$$).

When there is no dialog (and the "usual despise"), then it's impossible.

We will not provide advices in a forum to a company who does not even bother to accept a dialog.

I can tell you that public authorities in various countries and even at the UN are listening to us, and that it's useful for them. Most of that is confidential, simply because this kind of governmental discussions cannot be public. I can however provide some links showing that I've advised the High Health Authority of France (as a member of the Steering Group for the Recommendation for autistic adults), and also I have a letter by the then-Director of Mental Health of the WHO (Geneva) who found my explanations "very interesting and useful". (I did not ask him anything.)

It's impossible to solve problems without dialog, that's all...

Autistic specialist of autism

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Tampa, FL
Level 4

Eric

 

I can tell you that St Petersburg Florida local city council and staff just do not care.

 

I have tried to get them to work with 

me and they don’t care as they do not want Airbnb, it’s actually illegal. 

This despite the need for safe housing for parts of the population.

 

I am going to a meeting next week where state representatives will be there and I am going to bring it to their attention and see if we can make changes at the state level.

 

it’s such a struggle and yes if Airbnb were able to assist it would help but again you would have to be able to reach someone who cares.

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
Austin, TX
Level 2

https://news.airbnb.com/introducing-online-experiences-by-hosts-with-neurodiverse-guests-in-mind/

i wonder if any organizations in this article were successful in direct communication with air b n b ? 

cheers again to not giving up and for the work that you do ! 

I’m very interested in supporting autistic and neuro diverse individuals representing themselves!!! It should be a no brainer….. but even as my kiddo is only 6, I’m seeing clearly (and unfortunately) how uncommon this actually is ! 

Re: Being autistic-friendly

in
กทม, Thailand
Level 1

I have Asperger's Syndrome. I have had some very negative Air BnB experiences with noise and light. I have also had positive ones. Autistic people are diverse, but there are common sensory issues that can be addressed in line with a model of best practice. I would suggest a rating system to make a place "Autism-friendly' that would stipulate specific requirements e.g. the capacity for a bedroom to be made pitch black, a guarantee of no noise above a certain level, a choice of bedding options (e.g. a futon for those who find mattresses hard to sleep on or who prefer to be on the floor), noisy equipment (e.g. fridge) isolated from the primary relaxation spaces etc. This is certainly an issue that has not yet been appropriately or sufficiently addressed by AirBnB. Hotels are often a nightmare for me and an Autism-catered stream on Air BnB would be life-changing.

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