U.K. branches of American retailer Toys R Us opened their stores one hour early so kids and adults on the autism spectrum could enjoy browsing the shelves without the distraction of bright lights or loud noises.
Since there are over 700,000 U.K. citizens who have autism, the quiet hour has been hailed as a great victory for their demographic.
“Holding such events has given our teams extreme pride in reaching out to autism groups within their community,” said Mike Coogan, the chain’s marketing director. “Making slight adjustments to stores and creating a ‘quiet’ shopping period allows children and young adults to experience the fun in a toy shop regardless of their disability.”
After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from American parents on Facebook, Toys R Us’s Louisiana store plans on opening early as a trial run next Tuesday.
“Autistic children and adults can become overwhelmed with too much information inside a busy store,” said Daniel Cadey, autism access manager for the National Autistic Society. “Things like artificial lighting and loud announcements can increase their anxiety and be completely overwhelming, even causing them physical pain. Simple changes like this can make a huge difference. We hope that many more major retailers will follow the great example set by Toys R Us.”
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