Does your supermarket have an autism-friendly period?
By Judy Evans
June 12, 2019 1:53am CST
The photo shows a small portion of a business window in Trim, County Meath, Ireland. Each notice suggests ways in which a business could make their place more accessible for those with disabilities. Some are very common already such as installing ramps as well as steps or making toilets wheelchair-friendly. Others include raised buttons to help the visually impaired and placing buttons for ATMs and parking meters at lower levels accessible to those in wheelchairs. However the one that impressed me the most, and which has already been implemented in many grocery stores in the areas, is having an autism-friendly atmosphere one evening a week. In-store music is toned right down, lights are very subdued and even the check-out noises are softened. I guess one evening a week may not seem like much but at least it’s a start. Do you know of this in your region?
39 people like this
• United States
That's actually really impressive. I wish they had that in the stores here. My son isn't autistic but he has sensory processing disorder and when there is too much noise he gets overwhelmed and loud and busy stores can really be a pain to take him into at times but his isn't severe thankfully and his sensory issues have been getting better but I can only imagine what it's like being autistic and having to deal with that or being a parent with autistic children and having to go to the store with them by yourself and having to deal with meltdowns on top of shopping. Our stores don't do anything like that. I like seeing stores that take the time to think about all of their customers and not just the "normal" ones.
• Bangalore, India
That's such a good start. I wish there were many more such starts across the world. My country sadly is not so sensitive to disabilities in public places. Some new establishments are coming with facilities for physical disabilities. But autism and other neuro disorders are still a taboo. A lot needs to be done to sensitize the society and make it inclusive.
• United Kingdom
I know that one local supermarket (well, one in the next town) did do an Autism friendly trial. I'm sure I read that it was successful but I'm not sure if they made it a regular thing. I prefer to shop online and have it delivered. My autistic son will go to the local shop but, although he has come shopping with me and will do if I ask/tell him to, he does not like big supermarkets. Saying that, I don't know if he's just a normal boy who doesn't like shopping or if the size and sensory stimuli is too much for him. Personally, I despise shopping and crowds so I'm quite happy to not do it at all! I am glad to see there are things happening to help people with difficulties, though.
@JudyEv I once asked a shop-assistant if the constant playing of Christmas carols didn't drive her crazy. She was surprised. She said she didn't hear the music any more. This is definitely not good for your ears. Constant noise, even if it isn't very loud, is not healthy.
It is corporate social responsibility mission of the supermarket. They are helping the unfortunate children to get some money for their living, making them to have a sense of achievement to the society and reduce unemployment too. In my country, less number of company is willing to hire disability person even though there are discussion between the social welfare body and some small-and-medium size companies. Thus, there are making some home-made soap for sell and having some incentive for doing this activity.
@JudyEv The loud sound and music are to attract people to visit their store. It might be their strategy but personally I do not like this environment as I cannot speak with other person and my followers clearly and comfortable. It is uncomfortable to some of us same as those special need person.
• United States
no ma'am, not that i'd be 'ware 'f. sounds wonderful though 's there's so many folks who've troubles with all that - e'en folks with p.t.s.d. could benefit. there's wheelchair access 'n most oft those lowered door opener buttons. i doubt such 'twas done from the businesses hearts, 'tis required by law.