Oz supermarkets bring in ‘quiet hour’

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A major supermarket chain in Australia is rolling out a weekly ‘quiet hour’ for people on the autism spectrum.

For individuals on the autism spectrum, the bright lights and loud sounds of a busy supermarket can cause sensory overload.

Autism Spectrum Australia has joined with major supermarket chain Coles, to develop a ‘Quiet Hour’ in 68 supermarket stores.

The ‘quiet hour’ aims to prevent sensory overload by dimming the lights by 50 percent, turning off the radio, turning down register and scanner volumes, avoiding PA announcements and avoiding trolley collections.

People on the autism spectrum can find it difficult to process sensory information and can find sounds, light, smell, touch and taste overwhelming.

Some even said they would sometimes avoid supermarkets as a result.

Ms Webster said the feedback from other customers was the programme had made “a big difference to their shopping experience”.

It has also had a flow on effect for other customers, particularly the elderly population, who said they felt more comfortable with less crowds.

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