Celebrities and high-street stores back new ​Autism Hour


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Celebrities and high-street stores back new ​Autism Hour – words Al Woods

Autistic people and their families have to contend with a myriad of challenges. Whether it’s at school, at home or going to a restaurant it can be a real pain both for them and their families.

A simple act such as going to the shops might seem a nice way to spend an afternoon for any family but to people on the autistic spectrum this can be quite a frightening experience.

A new film has been produced that tries to show us all just what if feels like for an autistic person when visiting the local shopping mall. It helps us to see the world from another point of view. This is an intense world where everything is magnified – with each sound and light source intensified. People’s expressions and movement can be exaggerated too. This all adds up to what can seem like a threatening environment for people on the autistic spectrum.

The film seeks to highlight how a seemingly simple day-out to the shops can be a nightmare for the autistic person and their family. The sheer sensory overload can lead to a breakdown or an urge to flee from what they can seem like dangers. This can be misunderstood as naughty or antisocial by other members of the public.

To give autistic people and their families a break, some well-known stars and high street names are backing a new Autism Hour. This is an initiative by the National Autistic Society and encourages shops to take some simple steps to be more autistic friendly during the second week in October. Major high street names have signed up, including The Entertainer, Sainsbury’s, Argos, Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Co-op and Schuh. Celebrities such as Chris Packham, Anne Hagerty and Christine McGuinness are backing the charity initiative. Over 10,000 stores are already listed, visit the online map ​here.

“I rarely go into supermarkets. I find that environment really challenging, all of the bright lights, the confusion of the enormous complexity of goods in there, plus all the smells and the sounds. It’s a difficult environment. And that’s why I’m very keen to support Autism Hour, those shops which offer an hour where they make the whole atmosphere a lot more relaxing for autistic people.”

​Chris Packham, TV presenter, ​ naturalist​ ​and National Autistic Society ambassador.

More retailers are signing up each day and it is hoped it will make a real difference and also help with Autism awareness and the effect the condition can have on people and their families.

Find out more about the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour and how to get involved by visiting: ​autism.org.uk

 

Celebrities and high-street stores back new ​Autism Hour – words Al Woods

 

 

 

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