Vlogger and content creator for the National Autistic Society, Savan, reveals how overpowering smells from health and beauty stores can cause a sensory overload whilst out shopping, and shares what simple steps can be done to benefit other autistic shoppers.  

Why is Autism Hour important to you?

The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour is important to me because it enables autistic people, like myself, to shop without worrying of receiving too much sensory overload.

What is a shopping experience like for you? 

Shopping as an experience can be very stressful for me especially if I pass perfume shops, or enter shops, which can cause a sensory overload nightmare. I have coping strategies in place and manage most of the time when I am shopping as I usually have my music and noise cancelling headphones to keep me calm.

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? 

No-one is aware that I am autistic because people assume it’s a look that’s very obvious. However, if I mention that I need help and mention that I am autistic they don’t always know what to do, but they normally try their best to help me. It has been tempting over the past year or so to have and print "I am Autistic" t-shirts or sweaters to raise awareness that there is no particular look.

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

Have staff trained, have someone at the help desk or nearby and train them to be aware of the signs to help someone if asked. Also shops should have separate coloured baskets/trolleys just-in-case we do not need to be disturbed.

Attend your local Autism Hour

Autism Hour is coming on 6 October 2018. Sign up to get exclusive updates to find out where your nearest Autism Hour is taking place.

Find your nearest Autism Hour

Toy clown. The Entertainer. TheToyShop.com
The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, supported by The Entertainer