Priory Shopping Centre backs '˜Autism Hour'

The Priory Shopping Centre is set to participate in the National Autistic Society's Autism Hour on October 2.

The aim of the initiative, launched bu the National Autistic Society, is to challenge the myths, misconceptions and stereotypes that contribute to 64 per cent of autistic people avoiding going to shops.

Taking place at 10am, National Autism Hour will involve the Priory Shopping Centre taking simple steps for 60 minutes that lead to a more autism-friendly environment.

These steps include turning music down to a low volume and keeping other noise to a minimum, as overwhelming noise can be a real barrier to autistic people accessing shops. Another step is to dim the lighting, with bright lights being another cause for stress. The shopping centre will also be sharing information about autism with all of its employees.

David Aunins, centre manager of the Priory, said: “Taking part in Autism Hour is something that we feel very strongly about. We know that some relatively small changes made by the centre can help to make a lasting difference to autistic people and their families.”