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Autism hour at Pets at Homes stores across West London 'to make the world more autism friendly'

More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum meaning they often experience the world in a more intense way to other people

A look inside the Pets at Home store in Bagshot, Surrey(Image: Copyright unknown)

All Pets at Home stores across West London will be hosting an autism hour to help "make the world more autism friendly" on Sunday (October 8).

Pets at Home has partnered up with the National Autistic Society (NAS) to help raise awareness for the Too Much Information campaign.

Stores in West Drayton , Hayes , Greenford , Feltham, Richmond, Brentford, Battersea, New Malden and Brent Cross will all be opening an hour before the usual opening time to host the autism hour.

More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum which means that someone sees, hears and feels the world in a different, often more intense way to other people.

An experience such as shopping or simply being out in public can make them feel overwhelmed by "too much information" when out in public.

To combat this, the hour itself will consist of making in-store changes that could contribute to a more pleasant shopping experience for those suffering with autism and subsequent anxiety.

Changes include:

  • Turning down music and other noise: Overwhelming noise is a common barrier to autistic people accessing shops. Where possible, in-store tannoy announcements and other controllable noise should be reduced.
  • Dimming the lights: ​​Lighting, particularly fluorescent strip lighting, can be overwhelming for autistic people. Wherever possible, whilst maintaining a safe premises, lights should be dimmed or switched off.
  • Sharing information about autism with employees: We feel that often the biggest differences can be made when autistic people are treated with understanding.

NAS carried out a survey, which revealed that 64% of autistic people sometimes avoid going to the shops because of their autism.

The Too Much Information campaign is now in its second year and aims to help the public to understand autism, the person, and the change they can make.

Mark Lever, chief executive at the National Autistic Society said: "Our Too Much Information campaign has highlighted that the smallest changes can make the biggest difference for autistic people.

"We are confident this week-long event around the UK will help shops and services understand how we can work towards a more autism friendly world.

"It is really encouraging to see shops and services such as Pets at Home getting involved in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.

"Like anyone, people on the autism spectrum and their families want the opportunity to go to the shops.

"But many find the often busy, loud and unpredictable environment of public places overwhelming and avoid them altogether."

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