Superstore Asda Living Introduces 'Quiet Hour' for Customers on the Autism Spectrum
A superstore in Manchester, England, will now offer a “quiet hour” for customers on the autism spectrum.
Starting Saturday, May 7 at 8 a.m., Asda Living will stop escalators and turn off in-store music and TV displays for an hour, Manchester Evening News reported. Loud noises, bright lights and/or crowded areas can be overwhelming for a person on the spectrum and possibly cause them to shut or melt down. Shoppers will also receive maps of the store that use images instead of words for a more visual navigation.
Simon Lea, the store’s manager, pursued the idea after watching a young customer experience sensory overload in the middle of the store. He asked a staff member who has an autistic child for advice in finding a way to help.
“It’s all about helping people, really,” Lea told Manchester Evening News. “Six months ago I would have said ‘control your child’ even though I’ve got children. But speaking to people with autism and disabled people has helped me think about how I can make it a better place to shop.”
An Asda spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the company will be “monitoring feedback from the trial, and will share information internally to see if [it] can be rolled out to other stores.