Disabilities Minister Penny Mordaunt MP has lent her support to The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.

Penny Mordaunt

Autism Hour is the first ever week-long event where shops and services across the UK are taking 60 minutes to be more autism-friendly, by turning down their music, dimming their lights and making sure that staff are autism aware. 

Penny Mordaunt said: “Everyone should be able to enjoy time out with their family and friends, but many autistic people avoid places like shopping centres because they are busy and unpredictable places.

“Autism Hour is an excellent initiative, proving to thousands of retailers all over the UK that if we all make small changes, we can achieve a more autism friendly world.

“I commend the thousands of businesses that have already made their spaces more accessible, and urge others to follow their lead. Being inclusive is not just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense too.”

Over 4,500 stores have signed up to The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour including Marks and Spencer, Clarks, Superdrug, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Mothercare. Lloyds Banking Group are supporting by educating their colleagues about autism during Autism Hour to support customers.

The National Autistic Society is encouraging autistic adults, children and their families to attend Autism Hours in their local area by using the interactive map which shows which shops and businesses will be taking part throughout the week. The map allows users to zoom in to where you live, filter by category and start planning your visit.

The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour is part of the Too Much Information campaign, a three year public awareness campaign that aims to create a society that works for autistic people.

For autistic people, the world can seem full of too much information – and too little understanding. That's why the Too Much Information campaign was launched, to challenge the myths, misconceptions and stereotypes that contribute to 79% of autistic people feeling socially isolated and 64% of autistic people avoiding going to the shops.

Penny Mordaunt is pictured in front of a piece of artwork by Matthew Dommett, currently a student at Central Saint Martins in London. Matthew previously attended Comberton Village College in Cambridge where he produced this piece of work. Matthew is on the autistic spectrum.