The “Quieter Hour” is a new initiative introduced by certain retailers to make weekend shopping for autistic people more accessible
People that live with autism perceive the world completely differently to those not affected by the condition. Often these perceptions can put those that sense them at risk or danger, precisely because of the heightened intensity with which they are felt.
The British supermarket chain Morrison recently spearheaded an inspiring initiative designed to demonstrate their concern for such customers. On Saturdays, an entire hour of normal operating hours throughout their stores in the UK will be exclusively dedicated to autistic shoppers. This so-called “Quieter Hour” looks to be a huge success and aims to guarantee greater accessibility for people with autism.
The idea works in the following way: The lights will be dimmed, the background music switched off, the sounds of the tills reduced, any announcements made via store speaker systems will be kept to a minimum, and all ventilation fans will be turned off. In addition, employees will receive special training to help better serve these customers.
The initiative was piloted earlier this year at certain stores and was reportedly very popular. It looks like other supermarket chains are set to adopt similar strategies and introduce their own such ideas of social inclusion and, therefore, further transform the lives of autistic people and their families.