Shoppers with autism or with autistic family members or friends, are being asked for their opinions during this World Autism Awareness Week, April 1 to 7.
Lakeside Village wants to know from its customers, how shopping can be made more enjoyable for people with autism.
Feedback will then be used to improve the centre’s autism hour, on a Saturday morning from this weekend, to suit people’s preference.
David Aunins, centre manager at Lakeside Village said: “We are really interested in hearing from shoppers with autism or with autistic family members to understand how we can help to make our environment more accessible for them.
“Following the success of last year’s Autism Hour at Lakeside Village, we piloted a weekly ‘quiet hour’ to make shopping a more accessible and less stressful experience for people with autism.
“Our customer feedback shows that this would be more beneficial for families if it took place on a weekend rather than in the week, so from Saturday April 6, during World Autism Awareness Week, we will operate the ‘quiet hour’ on a Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am.
“We are asking for feedback and comments from customers as we want to make this a meaningful hour and for it to have a positive impact on our shoppers.”
From Saturday, between 9.30am and 10.30am the centre will be quieter with music turned down and a reduction in other noise such as tannoy announcements, which can be a common barrier to autistic people accessing shops.
“We will also be dimming the lights as fluorescent strip lighting can be overwhelming for autistic people,” added Mr Aunins.
“It is important to us that our shoppers and their family members feel comfortable when they visit the centre and we also have a quiet room available for anyone who needs to step away from the hustle bustle of the shopping environment.”
To give your feedback contact firstname.lastname@example.org