The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour has partnered with The Entertainer and the support of other shops, businesses and shopping centres across the UK to hold Autism Hours throughout the second week of October.
The move follows the successful implementation of The Entertainer’s own Quiet Hour initiative earlier this year. The retailer has pledged to support the campaign, joining shopping centres, post offices, supermarkets, coffee shops and retailers to take simple steps to help create a more autism-friendly world.
This will include things like turning down music, dimming bright lights and sharing information about autism.
More than 5,000 shops and businesses took part in last year’s inaugural Autism Hour, including household names like Clarks, Superdrug and Pets at Home. The National Autistic Society wants this year’s Autism Hour to be even bigger, encouraging more shops and businesses to get involved.
There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK, as well as three million family members and carers. Autistic people often find social situations difficult and can struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience, which can often 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 alrady signed up and ready to make the world a more autism friendly place.
“Thank you to The Entertainer for becoming our sponsor for Autism Hour 2018. Autistic people represent a huge part of our society - around one in 100 people in the UK. They and their families want to have the opportunity to go to the shops, just like anyone else. But many find the crows, noise and unpredictability to our high streets completely overwhelming and end up avoiding them altogether.
“The National Autistic Society wants 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.
‘Things like staff finding out a bit more about autism and making simple adjustments like turning down music or dimming the lights. It’s often the smallest change that makes the biggest difference.”
Gary Grant, founder and chairman of The Entertainer, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour. We always strive to make our stores a happy place for people to visit and so it is imperative that we adapt our in-store environment to create a more comfortable space for autistic people.
“The Entertainer is somewhere for children to explore their imagination and become inspired by all of the toys available and so we hope by supporting Autism Hour in addition to running our own Quiet Hour initiative, more families will feel confident when it comes to shopping with us.”