If you know anyone with children with autism or additional needs this will come as great news to them. On November 6th every Toys R Us* store in the UK will be holding an autism friendly and additional needs exclusive shopping event.
Every Toys R Us* store will open up for one hour before the usual store opening time exclusively for parents and carers of children with autism and additional needs in a special Christmas shopping event.
Stores will have lights dimmed, fluorescent lighting reduced, music and Tannoy announcements switched off and autism friendly signing introduced. There will also be a quiet zone available for anyone needing to take some time out.
The idea is to give families the opportunity to browse for an hour before the stores officially open, to help them to explore Christmas gift ideas and experience an everyday environment that may not always be easy for children affected by autism to cope with under normal store conditions.
Due to Sunday Trading legislation stores in England are unable to perform any sales transactions until the official opening time at 11am, but to save parents having to wait with their children they are also being offered the opportunity to return later that morning to pay for shopping, which they may also want to do to avoid buying gifts in front of their children.
Daniel Cadey, autism access manager for the National Autistic Society, said: "For many autistic people and their families a simple trip to the shops, which should be an enjoyable experience, can be fraught with difficulty. Autistic children and adults can become overwhelmed with too much information inside a busy store. Things like artificial lighting and loud Tannoy announcements can increase their anxiety and be completely overwhelming, even causing them physical pain. So we are delighted that Toys R Us is again showing the way by hosting an autism friendly shopping event in every Toys R Us store in the lead up to Christmas.
"Staff who understand autism will be on hand to help, and the lighting and amplified sound levels will be reduced to lessen the impact on autistic customers. Simple changes like this can make a huge difference to the 700,000 autistic people in the UK and to their families. We hope that many more major retailers will follow the great example set by Toys R Us."
This event was massively popular last year, and proved to be a huge success with families. We think it is a wonderful idea and applaud Toys R Us for holding this autism friendly shopping event again.
- Click here if you'd like to view the range at Toys R Us before your visit*
- Find your nearest Toys R Us store here*
IMPORTANT NOTE: This event will last 1 hour in each store. Please refer to the times indicated below:
England and Wales 10am to 11*am,
Scotland 9am to 10*am,
Northern Ireland 12am to 1*pm.
*There may be exceptional times in some Shopping Centres - for more information on your local event, please contact your local Toys R Us store.
If you know anyone who might find this information useful please pass it on.