In an effort to cater to shoppers with autism, the Asda Living store in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, will begin running a quiet hour once a week. Many people with autism suffer from a sensitivity to loud noises and may have difficulty cutting out background noise. This initiative aims to make shopping more comfortable for those with autism by eliminating unnecessary sounds.
The initiative was launched by Simon Lea after he noticed a boy with autism distressed by the level of noise in the sore. As a result, Lea came up with the idea of creating a special quiet hour during which local autism groups and families could shop without having to endure unnecessary noises. The store will now begin shutting off escalators, display TVs and in-store music at 8AM on Saturdays to accommodate shoppers with autism.
The initiative demonstrates one of the small changes retailers can make to ensure their stores are accessible to those with disabilities.