Pet store’s hour for autis­tic

Midweek Visiter - - St Joseph’s Hospice -

PETS at Home in South­port has once again teamed up with lead­ing char­ity the Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety to hold an autism hour this Satur­day (Oc­to­ber 13).

The Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety’s Autism Hour 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.

South­port is one of 440 plus Pets at Home stores in the UK that will be hold­ing their autism hour for the first hour of the day, tak­ing sim­ple steps to make the store more autism friendly – from dim­ming the lights, turn­ing down mu­sic and till bells and shar­ing in­for­ma­tion about the con­di­tion with em­ploy­ees.

With around 700,000 autis­tic peo­ple in the UK, as well as three mil­lion fam­ily mem­bers and car­ers, Pets at Home will be wel­com­ing these lo­cal fam­i­lies to the store to 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.

Research by the Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety found that 64% of autis­tic peo­ple some­times avoid go­ing to the shops be­cause the en­vi­ron­ment isn’t sen­si­tive to their needs.

John Gan­non, store man­ager at Pets at Home South­port, said: “We are proud to be sup­port­ing this fan­tas­tic ini­tia­tive once again.

“We know it makes such a dif­fer­ence to the lives of some of our cus­tomers and their fam­i­lies who want to shop for their pets.”

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