Supermarket chain, Morrisons, has been working with the National Autistic Society and this week launched ‘Quieter Hour’ across all of their 493 stores. The ‘Quieter Hour’ takes place every Saturday from 9am to 10am, and will see store lighting dimmed, background music switched off, and loudspeaker announcements avoided if possible and other noises, such as the beeps at checkout counters, turned down.

Tom Purser, Head of Campaigns at the National Autistic Society, said:  “Around 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK. This means they see, hear and feel the world differently to other people, often in a more intense way, which can make shopping a real struggle.

“At the National Autistic Society we know that even small changes can make a big difference to the lives of autistic people and their families. Shops can help by lowering lighting and noise levels and giving staff training about autism.

“Morrisons’ Quieter Hour is a step in the right direction for autistic people and their families, making shopping more autism-friendly.”

We are really pleased that Morrisons have committed to holding regular ‘Quieter Hours’ which should really benefit autistic shoppers and their families. 

Improving the shopping experience is the goal of our Autism Hour. We’ll be holding this mass-participation event for the second year between 6 and 13 October, with the aim of having thousands of shops and businesses involved. The aim is that more stores will see they can make simple changes and will establish regular Autism Hours, as Morrisons have done. 

More shops getting involved means we are getting closer to a society that works for autistic people!

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What's involved in an Autism Hour?

  • Turning down music and other noise: Overwhelming noise is a common barrier to autistic people accessing shops. Where possible, in-store tannoy announcements and other controllable noise should be reduced.
  • Dimming the lights: Lighting, particularly fluorescent strip lighting, can be overwhelming for autistic people. Wherever possible, while maintaining a safe premises, lights should be dimmed or switched off.
  • Increasing employees’ understanding of autism: We don't expect everyone to be an autism expert but we believe everyone should understand autism. We'll give shops information about autism to help their staff make customers' experience a positive one.
  • Helping the public understand autism: During our From the week of 6 October, we’ll be asking participating shops and business to share information about autism with their customers.

Are you a shop? Sign up to Autism Hour:

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