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For many autistic people, the world can be full of too much information - and too little understanding.

There are 700,000 autistic people in the UK. Along with their families, that's over 3 million customers waiting to be welcomed into your business. Over 99% of people have heard of autism, but only 16% of autistic people feel the public understand them.

Last year, over 11,000 businesses took part in our Autism Hour campaign, taking the first step in creating autism friendly communities all over the UK. Many businesses have seen the difference it makes and have continued to take action. Join them this October to see how you can make a world that works for autistic people.

What’s involved in an Autism Hour?

We understand every business is different, and so there is no one set way to hold an Autism Hour. However, broadly, there are two key parts to an Autism Hour:

  1. Making adjustments to your shop so it is less overwhelming for autistic people: this normally means turning down music and other background noise, and dimming lights where it is safe to do so, but there are other adjustments you can put in place to create an effective Autism Hour
  2. Sharing information about autism with your staff: to give every customer a positive experience, we’ll be providing information about autism to share with your staff. You don’t have to be an expert, but a little understanding can go a long way.

Other businesses put in place many more adjustments, such as clear information about where products are, having a quiet space in store and reducing strong smells.

I’ve already taken part in Autism Hour. What more can I do?

Many businesses have seen the crucial difference that an Autism Hour can make and recognise that it’s more than just 60 minutes. It’s about the difference you can make by learning about autism that shapes your day-to-day work, and adjustments that can be easily put in place more regularly.

Some businesses run Autism Hours every week or month. Others work towards our Autism Friendly Award, which is a great way to reward your efforts to ensure autistic people can attend your shops.

If you need any support or information about Autism Hour, or how you can take it further, please do get in touch by emailing campaign@nas.org.uk.

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