The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, supported by The Entertainer, is launching in October.
The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour has partnered with The Entertainer to launch Autism Hour 2019.
Together they are encouraging other shops, businesses and shopping centres across the UK to hold Autism Hours throughout the second week of October (5-12).
Since the National Autistic Society launched Autism Hour in 2017, 16,000 shops and businesses have joined the campaign and over 38,000 autism friendly hours have taken place, (that is 1,583 days or 4.3 years).
Now, from this campaign, stores such as The Entertainer, have committed to regular hours throughout the year.
An Autism Hour involves shops and businesses:
- Turning down music and other noise (such as in-store tannoy annoucements);
- Sharing information about autism with employees so that they can help to make customers’ experience a positive one;
- Dimming the lights (fluorescent strip lighting in particular can be overwhelming for autistic people);
- Helping the public understand autism.
“We are delighted to sponsor the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour for the second year,” said Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer. “We always strive to make our stores a happy place for people to visit and so it is imperative that we adapt our in-store environment to create a more comfortable space for autistic people.
“The Entertainer is somewhere for children to explore their imagination and become inspired by all of the toys available and so we hope by supporting Autism Hour in addition to running our own Quiet Hour initiative, more families will feel confident when it comes to shopping with us.”
Gary continued: “I would like to encourage other founders and ceos of high street shops and businesses to contact the National Autistic Society and join this fantastic campaign.”
There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK, as well as three million family members and carers.
Being autistic means seeing, hearing and feeling the world in a different, often more intense way to other people. Autistic people often find social situations difficult and can struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience, which can make busy public places, like shops, overwhelming.
National Autistic Society surveys suggest that 64% of autistic people avoid the shops. And, shockingly, 28% of autistic people have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated for their autism.
Tom Purser, head of campaigns at the National Autistic Society, commented: “With 38,000 Autism Hours completed over the past two years, we know shops and businesses want to be involved, they are ready to make the world a more autism friendly place.
“A big thank you to The Entertainer for helping to lead this change by becoming our sponsor for Autism Hour 2019.”