Shops and restaurants all over the country will dim their lights and turn down their music next week, raising awareness of autism and the difficulties parents and children with autism face when shopping.
Around 4,500 shops, including Toys R Us, Clarks and Sainsbury’s will all join forces in making their premises autism-friendly, as part of a campaign by the National Autistic Society and Intu shopping centre.
Autism affects one in every 100 people in the UK and can intensify sensory perceptions, making social situations difficult. Most children who suffer with autism will display signs or symptoms of autism before they are three – although the signs vary, there are a few early red flags to look for.
As many parents of children with autism will understand, going shopping with an autistic child can be a challenge. Shops and restaurants are often bright and loud places and 64% of autistic families avoid going to the shops as a result.
The idea behind this campaign is to create a safe space for people with autism, who often experience an overload of sensory information when out and about.
Autism hour will take place at 10am at Intu’s 14 shopping centres across the UK on Monday 2nd October. This includes Lakeside in Essex, The Trafford Centre in Manchester, the Victoria Centre in Nottingham and Braehead in Glasgow.