JC Penney Hosts Back-to-School Shopping Event for Shoppers With Autism


Bright lights, loud music, and dozens of families combing through the aisles to try and find the best deals can make back-to-school shopping a miserable experience for families whose children have special needs. Knowing how stressful back-to-school shopping can be for these families, a JC Penney store in Dallas created a special shopping event for children with sensory sensitivities.

On Sunday, the Timber Creek Crossing store opened three hours early to hold a judgment-free shopping experience. The two-hour shopping event was designed to accomodate the needs of those with autism spectrum disorder.

“We’re in about 50 percent lighting,” general manager Jay Tollett told CW33. “Typically the store would be bright, you’d have a lot of music going on. That’s the other thing, we have the music turned off this morning so it’s nice and quiet and calm and a little cooler than we normally have it in here.”

To better understand the needs of those on the spectrum, the store worked with the Dallas Independent School District, according to the Dallas Morning News. Store employees working that morning also received “autism-friendly” customer service training.

While the shopping event is currently a one-time experience, Tollett told the Dallas Morning News he hopes to create more events like this, as well as have it expand to other JC Penney stores.

Update: A spokesperson for JC Penney confirmed the company is looking into expanding the event to more stores. 

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