We all feel it sometimes, nowadays. Like the world has a little too much going on. Sensory overload. Walking through a busy town centre can trigger all sorts of uncomfortable feelings.
While we are usually attuned to this type of lifestyle, autistic people feel that the world is ‘full of too much information – and too little understanding’, as the National Autistic Society put it, perfectly.
Their previous campaign, challenged all of those common misconceptions which can often cause autistic adults and children to feel isolated. A whopping 79 per cent of people with the condition, young and old, feel they have minimal contact or very little in common with others.
Given that over 1 in 100 people around the globe – or 700,000 people in the UK – have been diagnosed with autism, that’s a lot of grownups and kids who feel misunderstood or not part of ‘normal’ society.
Building on these findings, as an extension of the Too Much Information campaign, the National Autistic Society are introducing Autism Hour. This absolutely fantastic awareness drive runs next week, from 6 to 13 October.
Understanding that everyday experiences, such as the aforementioned shopping struggles, can be particularly challenging for those with autism, the NAtional Autistic Society initiative encourages shops to take some simple steps, mindfully making the world more autism friendly for just 60 minutes.
Whether you have autism, you have children with the condition, or you have simply seen people out and about struggling with shops’ sensory marketing overload, it won’t come as a surprise that 46 per cent of autistic people choose to avoid shops altogether. In fact, 28 per cent talk of times when they’ve been asked to leave a public place because of reasons that are to do with their autism.
In this day and age, shouldn’t awareness be that much better than this? I think so. And so does National Autistic Society.
For those 60 minutes between 6 to 13 October, over 10,000 stores have signed up to turn down music and keep noise to a minimum, dim fluorescent strip lightening, and hold autism awareness staff meetings with their employees.
If you work in retail yourself, perhaps you could consider incorporating Autism Hour in your store. Or, should you be someone or know someone who has autism, why not take a look online for more information here? You could perhaps enjoy an hour out, with lessened anxiety of any overload. You can also volunteer to help out for Autism Hour week.
How are you getting involved to raise awareness and create an inclusive community?
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