I'd like to hear from FatWallet users on what you think about this. Do you think this is something that's needed in the U.S.? Would you find it valuable? By participating in this thread, you could be quoted in the blog post.
I've also reached out to our local NAMI branch to get their feedback.
Blackbird_Flies said: That's a really great point! Even with all of the accommodations, it still might not be enough for some. The video on that page does say they dim the lights and use less fluorescent lighting (maybe that dulls the colors a bit?), so it does sound like they've thought about the visual aspects as well.
Recently published results of a study suggesting the value of early testing and therapy is promising. I am not autistic but would love to shop without all the noise. There are some stores that I can't endure for the loudness.
I don't know how much help you'll get from NAMI, autism isn't a mental disorder, it's developmental disorder. Some with autism have co-morbid mental health conditions, but not all. Many do have problems with sensory overload, and can be hypersensitive to noise, lights (especially florescent ballast-type lights), and smells. Florescent lights using ballasts tend to make a buzzing sound that many with autism are acutely aware of. A quiet, softly-lit area is soothing to many with autism who are sensitive to noise and lights.
The UK is way ahead of the US in autism treatment. They have Simon Baron-Cohen who studied under German researcher Uta Frith, two of the most well known researchers on autism spectrum disorders (ASD's). So it doesn't surprise me to see the TRU stores in the UK having a special time for autistic individuals to utilize their stores without being bombarded with painful stimuli. I think if US TRU stores offered a similar day here in the states, it would be appreciated by those in the autism community. Some theaters have had a special viewing time of select movies, for those on the autism spectrum. Where this has been offered, the turnout has been pretty good.
I have Asperger Syndrome, didn't know until my early 40's. I don't have the sensory problems, but I have dealt with social problems. A quiet hour would even benefit some like me, who struggle with social interaction, as the store would be less crowded. Those with severe social difficulties might be more inclined to take advantage of a time set aside for those on the autism spectrum disorder, simply to be able to avoid neurotypicals*. They are more comfortable being with others like themselves. It would be a relatively stress-free, or at least a low-stress environment for many on the spectrum, with or without sensory issues, and I think TRU would find the families of those with autism would appreciate the ability to have an autism-friendly environment available to them.
* neurotypicals is aut-speak for the normal, non-autistic, folk. Neurotypicals have normal brain-wiring, those with autism are wired differently.
^^that brings up a good point-how do you keep the quiet hour population down so that it remains a quiet hour especially if other people with social difficulties are welcomed? The more people, the more stimulation. Being blind, a lot of sound is overwhelming so I can empathize to some degree. I cannot abide a place where the noise is like a solid wall. No sight, no real information from sound is a highly unpleasant situation to be in. Being deaf/blind must be a bitch to deal with.
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