Thousands of retailers get set for Autism Hour

Autism hour banner

Event will raise awareness of the condition 

26th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Thousands of shops will dim lights, turn down music and share information about autism as part of a UK-wide campaign.  

Autism Hour is the first ever week-long mass participation event where shops and businesses across the UK will become more autism friendly for 60 minutes.

It will start on 2 October with over 4,500 stores taking part across the UK including Marks & Spencer, Clarks, Superdrug, John Lewis, Toys ‘R’ Us, Sainsbury’s and Mothercare.

Intu, the UK's biggest manager of shopping centres, is putting forward 14 of its sites to take part including Manchester's Trafford Centre.   

Mark Lever, chief executive at the National Autistic Society, said: "The National Autistic Society is proud to be launching the first ever UK-wide Autism Hour event and is thrilled that it’s involving such a vast number of shops and businesses.

"A National Autistic Society survey found that 64% of autistic people avoid going to the shops, and 28% have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated with their autism.

"We are confident that the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour will provide an opportunity for autistic people and their families to use shops and services that the general public take for granted."

Matt Davis, father to Isaac, aged nine, who is autistic, said: “Noise, lighting and crowds are all triggers for Isaac so either we avoid shops altogether or we have to put in a great deal of preparation to ensure Isaac doesn’t become overwhelmed.

“Unfortunately, my wife and I find that the stress doesn’t stop with having to pay close attention to Isaac’s sensory overloads, we also have to take into account the public’s perception of Isaac’s behaviour and that can be difficult.”

More than one in 100 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum.