Dan Jones photo
“Shopping is not fun or enjoyable for most autistic people. The sensory input is overwhelming, and can often leave autistic people feeling segregated from society, as they choose to do their shopping online.”

In a Q&A with Dan Jones, one of our content creators, he explains why he is supporting Autism Hour and what simple changes can be made to help benefit not just autistic people, but everyone.

Why is Autism Hour important to you? 

The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour is so important to me, as it gives me a chance to go to a store with a sense of calmness, contrary to the usual state of mind I have when going to a store where it is: "lights are too bright, everything is too noisy, so many sounds, I want to get out of here." 

What is a shopping experience like for you? 

It is always a worry, like instant anxiety and feeling very distant, almost like you’re detached from the world because there is just too much sensory input. I mostly don't look forward to having to go to a shop and especially if we know it will be a busy day, it can be just too much to handle. 

Have you ever experienced a time when a member of staff/shop has made an effort to be understanding of autism or a sensory issue? 

I haven't ever experienced this. I feel shops are too 'Go! Go! Go!' and make little time for people on the spectrum and this is why I feel Autism Hour is so important. 

What could shops do to make the experience better for you? 

The shops could all update their lighting systems to softer lights that do not flicker. They could also change the type of music they play at a lower volume to being more relaxing music/calming music. Also a big improvement would be to stop moving the items around. Keep the section where they always are, this causes a massive stress and issues for me when shopping. 

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The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, supported by The Entertainer