More than 5000 stores across the UK will take part in the National Autistic Society‘s first national Autism Hour this year.
On October 2 at 10am, more than 4500 stores that are part of the Intu’s 14 UK shopping centres will dim their lights, turn down the music and share information about autism.
The shops taking part include branches of Marks & Spencer, Clarks, John Lewis, Toys R Us, Sainsbury’s and Mothercare.
Superdrug will also be supporting Autism Hour for the first time at 10am on October 8, with over 600 of its stores around the country turning off all background music and taking steps to make stores a less overwhelming place for those living with autism.
Autism Hour is the first ever week-long mass participation event, launched in partnership with Intu, where shops and businesses across the UK will become more autism friendly for 60 minutes.
According to the National Autistic Society, 64 per cent of those with autism avoid going shopping, and a further 28 have been asked to leave a public place for reasons related to their autism.
The National Autistic Society is encouraging autistic adults, children and their families to attend Autism Hours in their local area by using an interactive map which shows which shops and businesses will be taking part throughout the week.
National Autistic Society chief executive Mark Lever said: “The National Autistic Society is proud to be launching the first ever UK wide Autism Hour event and is thrilled that it‘s involving such a vast number of shops and businesses.
“We are confident that the National Autistic Society‘s Autism Hour will provide an opportunity for autistic people and their families to use shops and services that the general public take for granted.
“We are encouraging autistic adults, children and their families to head to the interactive map on our website so they can plan visits to local shops and businesses and enjoy a break from the overload of too much information.”