The Wokingham Paper

Wokingham pet shop to open early for Autism Hour

pets at home
Pets at Home

A PET superstore in Wokingham will be opening an hour early this weekend as part of a national charity campaign.

Pets at Home, which is based in Finchampstead Road, will open its doors 60 minutes early as part of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour on Sunday, October 8.

The campaign encourages shops and businesses to take simple steps to make their store more autism friendly, from dimming the lights, turning down music and till bells and sharing information about autism with employees.

The charity has found that around 64% of autistic people avoid going to the shops because they feel too overwhelmed by the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience.

Alison Slade, store manager at Pets at Home Wokingham said: “This is a fantastic initiative and one we are extremely pleased to be a part of.

“Our store will be opening an hour earlier on Sunday 8 October and we will be providing a relaxed, stress-free, autism-friendly space for our customers.”

Mark Lever, CEO at the National Autistic Society said: “It is really encouraging to see shops and services such as Pets at Home getting involved in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour. Like anyone, people on the autism spectrum and their families want the opportunity to go to the shops. But many find the often busy, loud and unpredictable environment of public places overwhelming and avoid them altogether.

“Our Too Much Information campaign has highlighted that the smallest changes can make the biggest difference for autistic people and we are confident this week-long event around the UK will help shops and services understand how we can work towards a more autism friendly world.”

To find out more about attending a National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, visit: http://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/tmi/autism-hour.aspx.

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