Does Autism Hour Mean Sensory Friendly Shopping for All?
Have you seen a store promote autism hour? Do shops in your community promote sensory-friendly shopping times? Curious about what autism hour is and means and why it’s popularity is growing? Are you surprised when people say they do not have autism, but still shop and come in to shop during autism hour? This article provides the answers.
Autism is a developmental disorder, which means it starts in early childhood, even infancy, and causes difficulty in daily life. Symptoms of autism may only become more apparent as a child grows. Autism is life-long.
Autism causes difficulties with a person’s behavior, their communication, their interests and their daily activities. People with autism often have difficulty with changes in a daily routine. They might want to repeat things, and they might have limited interests. They also likely struggle with social situations as well as communicating and finally they often have difficulty with their senses.
Given all of these possible difficulties, going out to shop can be especially challenging for people with autism.
Autism hour is a specific time that designed to be more comfortable for people with autism and their families to go shopping. Sometimes more than one store or shopping location join together to offer autism hour at the same time across different places.
What is Sensory Friendly Shopping?
Sensory friendly shopping helps people who have a sensory impairment or sensory processing disorder, which may be someone with autism or may be someone with another disorder, disability or difference.
Not all stores offer the same sensory-friendly shopping experience.
Sensory friendly shopping is often very similar if not identical to autism hour. However there can be differences between them.
The table below compares autism hour to sensory-friendly shopping. In general, sensory friendly shopping aims to make the shopping experience less busy, noisy and bright for shoppers. Sensory refers to the senses. And friendly refers to making shopping more agreeable and accessible to shoppers.