// The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, launching this month, is supported by The Entertainer
// The toy retailer will create an autism-friendly experience, like turning down music & dimming lights
The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour has partnered with The Entertainer to launch Autism Hour 2019.
Together they are encouraging other shops and businesses in the UK to hold Autism Hours between October 5-12.
The National Autistic Society’s survey revealed that 64 per cent of autistic people avoid shops and 28 per cent have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated with their autism.
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Since the launch of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour in 2017, 16,000 shops and businesses have joined the campaign and more than 38,000 autism friendly hours have taken place.
Stores such as The Entertainer have now committed to regular hours throughout the year since joining the campaign.
There are approximately 700,000 autistic people in the UK, alongside three million family members and carers.
Autism Hour involves shops and businesses turning down the in-store music as overwhelming noise is a common barrier to autistic people accessing shops.
It also involves dimming lighting, particularly fluorescent strip lighting which can be overwhelming for autistic people.
While still maintaining a safe environment, lights should be dimmed or switched off.
The final step is helping the public understand autism.
During the week, The National Autistic Society will ask participating shops and business to spread awareness about autism with its customers.
“Autistic people represent a huge part of our society – around 1 in 100 people in the UK,” National Autistic Society head of campaigns Tom Purser said.
“They and their families want to have the opportunity to go to the shops, just like anyone else.
“But many find the crowds, noise and unpredictability of our high streets completely overwhelming and end up avoiding them altogether.”
The Entertainer executive chairman Gary Grant said: “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.”