Hatfield pet store cranks down the volume for autistic people

PUBLISHED: 11:05 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:09 03 October 2017

Pets At Home in Hatfield.

Pets At Home in Hatfield.


A Hatfield pet store is set to turn down the shop’s volume and dim the lights in a bid to make the world more autism friendly.

Staff at Pets at Home, in Oldings Corner, have teamed up with the National Autistic Society, to launch the UK’s first week-long event, where shops and services take 60 minutes to provide autistic people with a break from the usual information overload.

The Hatfield store is one of 340 plus Pets at Home stores in the UK that will be holding their autism hour on Sunday, October 8, an hour before the store officially opens.

Pets at Home will be taking simple steps to make the store more autism friendly from dimming the lights, turning down music and till bells and sharing information about autism with employees.

More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum which means that someone sees, hears and feels the world in a different, often more intense way to other people.

Autistic people often find social situations difficult and struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience, which means they feel overwhelmed by ‘too much information’ when out in public.

The National Autistic Society’s recent survey revealed that 64% of autistic people avoid sometimes going to the shops because of their autism.

Noel Stewart, store manager at Pets at Home Hatfield said: “This is a fantastic initiative and one we are extremely pleased to be a part of.

“Our store will be opening an hour earlier on Sunday, October 8, and we will be providing a relaxed, stress free, autism friendly space for our customers.”

Mark Lever, CEO at the National Autistic Society said: “It is really encouraging to see shops and services such as Pets at Home getting involved in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.

“Like anyone, people on the autism spectrum and their families want the opportunity to go to the shops. But many find the often busy, loud and unpredictable environment of public places overwhelming and avoid them altogether.

“Our Too Much Information campaign has highlighted that the smallest changes can make the biggest difference for autistic people and we are confident this week-long event around the UK will help shops and services understand how we can work towards a more autism friendly world.”

To find our more information about attending a National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, visit http://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/tmi/autism-hour.aspx

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