By Shanine Bruder
Trinity Leeds Shopping Centre have launched a quiet hour during World Autism Acceptance Week to provide a more accessible shopping experience for people with autism.
The Shopping Centre has collaborated with Leeds Autism Services to provide a more accessible and calming shopping experience for people with autism, who may find shopping difficult or distressing.
Every Tuesday morning during the quiet hour, the shopping centre dim all the lights, lowers the music, reduces tannoy announcements, limits strong smells and staff and customers work and shop quietly.
Chief Executive at Leeds Autism Services, Pete Hughes said: ”They’ve been brilliant at Trinity, working with us. They really want to get it right for people.”
As well as benefiting those who live with autism, quiet hours can also benefit people with Dementia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, ADHD and sensory issues.
Alongside Trinity Leeds, White Rose Shopping Centre have also launched a quiet morning, autism friendly cinema screenings and access to sensory toys.
As many people on the autism spectrum have difficulty processing everyday sensory information, White Rose have introduced sensory toys for those who may have forgotten their own or may just need some time out.
Pete Hughes said: ”They are really worthwhile events. We have some autistic volunteers who are also involved in those events, and they were really excited about it.”
As well as working with Trinity Leeds and White Rose, Leeds Autism Services are also raising awareness around Autism Awareness week by educating job centres around autism and hosting a big quiz, bringing together a number of different autism organisations.
Autism Acceptance week is designed to promote acceptance and inclusion, as well as generate awareness and education around autism.
The week of events aims to draw attention to the 700,000 people living with autism in the UK, to help make the world a friendlier place for autistic people and their loved ones.