Autism Hour is back again for 2018 and I really wanted to share information because I’ve noticed a lot of my friends and family weren’t aware of what is such a helpful and important to help create more of an Autism-friendly world. But what is Autism Hour?
Created by The National Autistic Society, Autism Hour was created as part of the Too Much Information campaign. For autistic people, the world can seem full of too much information and too little understanding. The campaign challenges myths, misconceptions and stereotypes that contribute to 79% of autistic people feeling socially isolated and 64% of autistic people avoiding going to the shops.With more than 1 in 100 of the population have been diagnosed with autism. Including their families, that adds up to over 3 million customers who are waiting to be welcomed into businesses such as retail and restaurants to name a few. The NAS are asking for shops and businesses to organise an Autism Hour and to take basic steps for just 60 minutes which can lean to a more autism-friendly world.
Autism Hour involves things such as turning down music and other noise, dimming the lights, which can be overwhelming for a lot of autistic people due to Sensory Processing Disorder and can be a major barrier for autistic people trying to access shops.It also involves sharing information on autism with employees and helping the public understand autism. It isn’t expected for everyone to be an expert, but everybody should understand autism. The Autism Hour events offer information to staff to make customers’ experiences a positive one as well as sharing information with customers.
There are various ways in which you can support Autism Hour. You can volunteer at your local Autism Hour with the NAS which helps change the way people think about autism, helping to work towards the day when everyone understands. You’ll also be raising valuable funds for the NAS which means they are able to support more autistic people. You can also approach your local shops and businesses asking them to support Autism Hour by downloading a poster to hand to them or even contact their customer service teams on social media or if you own a business, you can register your business or workplace. If you or a loved one is autistic, make use of the event and attend a local Autism Hour. Sharing real life stories on social media can also be beneficial to help people understand how Autism Hour can really impact and support the autistic community. Donating to the NAS is also a great help as you will be helping them help world a friendlier place through supporting initiatives like Autism Hour.
Some of the businesses who have taken part in Autism Hour include Lloyds Bank, Argos, Frankie & Benny’s and Sainsburys. Autism Hour is also sponsored by family-friendly toy store, The Entertainer, who is the fastest growing, family owned high street toy retailer. Having taken part in Autism Hour in 2017, The Entertainer felt passionate about introducing something similar on a more frequent basis. They have now introduced the activity on a permanent basis with a Quiet Hour now taking place every Saturday morning in all stores. Earlier this year, Morrisons also launched “Quieter Hour” aimed at autistic customers across all of their stores. It is up to each store and branch as to whether or not they participate, so reaching out to your local stores and asking them to participate can be a major help.
For me, I often find going shopping an overwhelming experience, especially in supermarkets. The bright fluorescent lighting mixed with the loud crowds, heavy noises from machinery and the tannoy announcements can really stress me out and even lead to me having migraines. This is why I tend to do most of my shopping online, which is beneficial, but cutting out the actual experience of going out into the world to go shopping and running errands can have negative outcomes such as shutting myself off from the world and staying indoors. I, along with every autistic person, deserve the right to be able to live our lives just like everyone else. Autism Hour really benefits so many people on the autistic spectrum along with their families and can make a real difference. Making these kind of adaptations are crucial and we should be encouraging society to help Neurodivergent people and make the world more accessible.
What do you think of Autism Hour? Have you ever attended an event like this?
Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.