Shopping centre to dim the lights and mute the music for autism hour

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The Ridings Shopping Centre will be one of 7,000 businesses joining the campaign to make shopping more autism-friendly.

As part of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, the centre will turn off the music and dim the lights tomorrow morning, Saturday, October 6.

Lee Appleton, centre director for the Ridings, said: “Within the malls and in a number of our stores, music will be turned off and lights will be dimmed to support any shoppers who struggle with the hustle, bustle and noise that a busy shopping centre can generate, to ensure that we give them an all-round easier shopping experience.”

Autistic people often experience the world more intensely than others, and can struggle in social situations.

In particular, loud noises, bright lights, strong smells and background sounds can create distractions, especially in busy, public places.

It is believed that as many as 64 per cent of autistic people avoid shopping because of their autism.

The Autism Hour campaign asks shops and businesses to take small steps in making shopping a more autism-friendly experience.

This will be the second year that the National Autistic Society have run the campaign.

Autism Hour will take place at the Ridings shopping centre tomorrow from 9am to 10am on Saturday.