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Real stories

Public spaces like shops and services can be overwhelming for autistic people. That’s why 64% of autistic people avoid going to the shops, and why Autism Hour is so important. Here we've published stories from autistic people and their families.

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Everything you need to know

Alex Marshall headshot, smiling


"When I was younger I really struggled with abrupt additions to the 'shopping timetable'."

Indie Andy

Indie Andy

"It's a chance for me to go shopping without feeling overwhelmed and for businesses to understand autistic people."


Anne Hegerty headshot


"For me, the perfect shopping experience would be peace and quiet."
Arif and Eesaa

Arif and Eesaa

"Shopping can be stressful. You have to be alert to Eesaa and his sensitivities."


"Shopping experiences can be really good but when a lot goes on in the shop it can turn into hell."

Billie-Jade at Disney World


"It’s important to me as it promotes the need for the public to be more accepting and knowledgeable on autism."
Chris Packham headshot with quote


“I rarely go into supermarkets. I find that environment really challenging."

Christine McGuinness ITV interview photo

Christine McGuinness

"Like any family, we want to go shopping and have a fun day out - something that most people take for granted."

Connor Ward


"It’s a great representation of how the world is realising simple changes can make a massive difference to many people."
Dan Jones photo


"I feel shops are too 'Go! Go! Go!' and make little time for people on the spectrum. This is why I feel Autism Hour is so important."

Purple Ella and son outside

Purple Ella

"I find shops, particularly large ones like supermarkets or department stores, very overwhelming."

photo of the Entertainer store entrance

The Entertainer

"Everyone, no matter who they are, has the right to an enjoyable shopping experience."

Fay and Bowie

Fay and Bowie

"By dedicating a specific hour to autistic people, it allows me to take Bowie out and his mind to wander without stress or fear." 



"It’s important to understand that autistic people are often doing a lot of 'unseen' work to navigate everyday environments."

Hannah Molesworth


"I usually do shopping online to avoid the outside times. It’s too peopley out there!" 

James Sinclair purple background


"The pressure of packing feels like a race with the cashier that I always lose."

Jody Coxon headshot photo

Jody, Cameron and Harry

"Just a basic understanding from staff would be an incredible start, along with a few tweaks to music and lighting."

Jo, Holly and Katie

"Shopping means planning. My autistic daughters don’t like strong smells, crowds, noise, waiting and the unexpected."

Kevin and Andy

Kevin and Andy

"Our biggest difficulty is when products are moved around the store, seemingly randomly." 



"Our store is a fantastic example of what can be achieved with just a little thought, understanding and respect."


"I think shops should talk to all their customers and ask how they find the pared-down atmosphere."

Sainsburys logo


"We want autistic customers and their families or carers to feel comfortable and relaxed when shopping in Sainsbury’s."

Samantha and Henry

Samantha and Henry

"It allows parents and carers to feel more confident on an outing that could normally be a very stressful time for all."

a train station worker standing with a young woman


"The more I get spoken to in a normal way, the more I feel I can respond with a clear head and get the information I require."



"It has been tempting over the past year or so to have and print 'I am Autistic' t-shirts or sweaters to raise awareness."
Tom Hewitt headshot image


"Lowering background music would benefit those of us who are sensitive to sound. I find certain sounds really painful."

Autism Helpline Number: 0808 800 4104
Last updated: 08/05/2019 16:47:14