Back in July, Morrisons Supermarket launched a ‘quiet hour’ for autistic shoppers who struggle with music and noise, joining The Entertainer toy shop that also holds “quiet hours” during the first hour of opening every Saturday.
As technology progresses, we are all hit by sights and sounds around every corner and for autistic people, the world can seem full of too much information for them to process.
In a bid to make the UK more autism friendly, The National Autistic Society are launching Autism Hour between 6-13th October 2018, an initiative which promotes autism friendly shopping experiences across the UK.
This year over 10,000 shops, businesses and shopping centres have signed up to the program, taking simple steps to make their businesses more accessible to autistic people for one hour during the week, such as turning down music and other noise, dimming fluorescent strip lighting and sharing information about autism with employees. Click here to see the interactive map of shops that will be taking part near you!
Major high street names have signed up, including The Entertainer, Sainsbury’s, Argos, Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Co-op and Schuh.
Did you know?
There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK, as well as three million family members and carers. Being autistic means seeing, hearing and feeling the world in a different, often more intense way to other people. Autistic people often find social situations difficult and can struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience, which can make busy public places, like shops, overwhelming.
The National Autistic Society hopes that the initiative has a lasting impact beyond the week of activity, and that many businesses will follow The Entertainer’s example and introduce permanent changes like their weekly Quiet Hour, or work towards the Autism Friendly Award. This is an opportunity for shops to make a big difference to the lives of autistic people through simple changes as 64% of autistic people say they avoid the shops and 28% have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated with their autism.
There are a few ways for you to get involved with and support Autism Hour – find out how to volunteer here.