Shops and restaurants across the UK will be dimming their lights and turning down the music as they gear up to host the first nationwide quiet hour aimed at providing people with autism ‘a break from the overload of too much information’.
Businesses will take an hour out each day for one week to create a quiet and calm setting to help make shopping experiences more enjoyable for those who have autism.
The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour will run for one week, from 2nd October, and businesses are being encouraged to get on board.
All 14 Intu shopping centres across the country are taking part and are working alongside the National Autistic Society, which will bring awareness to autism.
This isn’t a new concept as Toys R Us received widespread support when it held a quiet hour across its stores in October last year.
Considering around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum, meaning autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people, this should be made a regular thing. Who’s with me?
What will the ‘quiet hour’ involve?
Turning down music and other noise: Overwhelming noise is a common barrier to autistic people accessing shops. Where possible, in-store tannoy announcements and other controllable noise should be reduced.
Dimming the lights: Lighting, particularly fluorescent strip lighting, can be overwhelming for autistic people. Wherever possible, whilst maintaining a safe premises, lights should be dimmed or switched off.
Sharing information about autism with employees: We don’t expect everyone to be an autism expert but we believe everyone should understand autism. We’ll provide information about autism to help your staff make your customers’ experience a positive one.
Sharing information about our Too Much Information campaign: In the week of October 2 we ask that you help increase the public’s understanding of autism by sharing our Too Much Information campaign with customers.
— Nat Autistic Society (@Autism) August 1, 2017