Arif and Eesaa headshot and quoteMeet Arif, father to an autistic son, Eesaa. Arif chats to us about shopping, and how trips to store can be overwhelming for Eesaa, and why Autism Hour is so important to their family

Arif said: “Eesaa has historically found the typical environment associated with shops overwhelming. This means my wife and I either have to arrange for one of us to stay at home with the kids while the other heads out - or arrange for family to babysit if we both need to go out. This causes much further impact on us. 

“Shopping can be stressful. You have to be alert to Eesaa and his sensitivities. Often the biggest issue is the volume of people and the ability for kids to move away from their parents. What can a business do to help with these points whilst not affecting business? Would closing shops for a short period so those affected by Autism can browse/shop? I am not sure I have the answer to this yet. What I do know if we want to do more ‘normal’ things as a family.”

“One experience that sticks in my mind was at a trampoline park over a year ago. Eesaa loves going but can get overwhelmed at times. He was also non-verbal at the time and couldn't communicate. He would be in people’s way and he wouldn't understand why. 

“We advised the member of staff during the safety briefing that Eesaa was autistic. He allowed us to watch the safety briefing from a safe spot and then made an announcement to other members of the team via a radio about Eesaa so they were also aware of his presence and could keep an eye on him if he required any assistance. This small step went a long way.”

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