A branch of Asda Living in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, is introducing a period of quiet time next month, to make the hell that is any kind of shopping more bearable to autistic shoppers and the families of autistic kids.
The branch will switch off music, TVs and escalators to lessen the amount of distracting background noise, plus a special map of the shop featuring pictures instead of words will be made available to help those with special needs better find their way about.
Simon Lea, the branch's manager, said the idea came about after witnessing a parent having a hell of a time doing the shopping with her autistic son, saying: "This boy was playing absolute blue murder, kicking and screaming. His mum just looked drained. She told me he suffers from autism. He was having a meltdown."
Lea said he calmed the boy with a voucher and a free football then had a bit of a brainwave in the bread aisle, adding: "It’s all about helping people really. 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."
8:00am on May 7 sees the first quiet shopping hour begin. [Manchester Evening News]