Economy

Coles introduces 'Quiet hour' for shoppers with autism

Coles introduces 'Quiet hour' for shoppers with autism

After a successful trial of an autism-friendly program of dimming the lights and turning the music off, Coles will now introduce "The Quiet Hour" program for customers who find heightened sensory environments challenging.

Coles teamed up with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) in August to trial Quiet Hour at two Victorian stores.

Collections and roll cages will also be halted for the hour, announcements will only be made during emergencies, and additional staff will be on hand to provide extra support to customers through the trial phase.

Those measures were created to make the frequently hectic supermarket a little easier to navigate. Following the success of the trial, it will be rolled out in 68 stores across the country.

Around 1 in every 100 Australians have an autism spectrum disorder, and a significant portion of that community might find shopping a lil' easier because of this move.

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"The modifications to the shopping experience haven't just been about creating low physical and sensory stimulators", she added.

Peter Sheean, Coles' accessibility sponsor, said the company was pleased to receive a resoundingly positive response for the initiative on social media.

Coyle said the organisation was proud to partner with Coles on the program. Coles said they wish the weekly timeslot from 10:30 to 11:30am local time to be a "judgment-free zone". The supermarket will be open to all customers and many will no doubt appreciate a more calm and peaceful shopping experience.

"For many individuals and families, a simple trip to the shops can be hard". "Together with Coles, we're achieving a "no-judgement" shopping space where people on the spectrum and their families can feel comfortable and welcome whilst grocery shopping".

However, many are calling for the Quiet Hour to be more often as more people would want to have a quieter shopping experience. "I don't think it's just people with autism who would prefer less environmental clutter", Sur Scarfe wrote on Coles' Facebook page. "So many things in life are unnecessarily stressful, grocery shopping doesn't have to be one of them".


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