Big-name stores tak­ing part in Autism Hour

Hamilton Advertiser - - ALL ABOUT LANARKSHIRE - Staff re­porter

The Hamil­ton branches of Ar­gos, Pets at Home and Mor­risons are among the stores tak­ing part in the Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety’s Autism Hour.

The event was launched last year as the first mass-par­tic­i­pa­tion event to en­cour­age shops to be more in­clu­sive, by pro­vid­ing autis­tic peo­ple with a break from the usual in­for­ma­tion over­load often found in stores.

With around 700,000 autis­tic peo­ple in the UK, as well as three mil­lion fam­ily mem­bers and car­ers, fam­i­lies can en­joy an hour of shop­ping ded­i­cated to meet­ing their needs, as they can ex­pe­ri­ence the world in a dif­fer­ent, often more in­tense way to other peo­ple.

Peo­ple with the con­di­tion can find so­cial sit­u­a­tions dif­fi­cult and might strug­gle to fil­ter out the sounds, smells, sights and in­for­ma­tion they ex­pe­ri­ence, which can make busy pub­lic places, like shops, over­whelm­ing.

Mark Lever, chief ex­ec­u­tive at the Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety, said:“it’s won­der­ful to see so many well-known high street re­tail­ers have al­ready signed up and are ready to make the world a more autism friendly place. Autis­tic peo­ple rep­re­sent a huge part of our so­ci­ety and, shock­ingly, 28 per cent of autis­tic peo­ple have been asked to leave a pub­lic place for rea­sons as­so­ci­ated with their autism.

“They and their fam­i­lies want, and de­serve, to have the op­por­tu­nity to go to the shops, just like any­one else.

“The Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety want a world which works for autis­tic peo­ple.

“With Autism Hour, we want to show re­tail­ers the small things they can do to help open up the high street for autis­tic peo­ple.

“It’s often the small­est change that makes the big­gest dif­fer­ence.”de­tails of events tak­ing place in Hamil­ton in­clude:

Ar­gos, Hamil­ton Palace Re­tail Park Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 10, from 4pm to 5pm Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 12, from 7pm to 8pm

Pets at Home, Hamil­ton Palace Re­tail Park Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 13, 9am to 10am

Mor­risons, Hamil­ton Ev­ery Satur­day from 9am to 10am. Re­search by the Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety found that 64 per cent of autis­tic peo­ple some­times avoid go­ing to the shops be­cause the en­vi­ron­ment isn’t sen­si­tive to their needs.

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