Brisbane parents want ‘quiet hour’ for shoppers with autism

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Brightly lit supermarkets to be dimmed by 50%. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

HOLLY FENWICK

Brisbane parents have called for a ‘quiet hour’ in supermarkets so people with autism can have an easier shopping experience.

Two Coles stores in Victoria are already trialling the quiet hour every Tuesday until the end of October.

During the ‘quiet hour’ lights are dimmed by 50%, PA announcements and trolley collections are avoided and the radio and registers are turned down to minimal volume.

North Brisbane mother Amber Biddle spoke about what having a ‘quiet hour’ in Brisbane stores would do for her and her daughter, Lilly, who has autism.

“Being able to shop in quiet, without loud announcements or bright lights would make shopping with Lilly so much easier,”  Ms Biddle said.

“I know it would be easier for her to stay calmer and cope better if she didn’t feel so overwhelmed by the noise and florescent lighting.”

Melbourne shopper Emily Dive took to the Coles Facebook page to express her joy at being able to shop with her son.

“Lachlan was provided with such a positive experience in an environment that is challenging. Crawling under shelves, running out of the store, screaming, running, and yelling are our “norm” when we visit the supermarket,” Ms Dive said.

“Behaviours that are his way of communicating “I can’t cope”. Today, these were obsolete,”.

South Australian supermarket, Foodland introduced a ‘quiet hour’ last year at an Adelaide store.

The program was permanently implemented after a successful trial and is now being introduced at other store locations.

The Adelaide supermarket chain partnered with Cara, the state’s largest disability service provider who trained staff on sensory issues.

Coles will review the results of their trial at the end of the eleven-week period and will decide whether to implement the ‘quiet hour’ in Brisbane stores.

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