THIS week you might have noticed a number of shops have been a little bit quieter.

That's because more than 11,000 shops and businesses across the country have been making adjustments to make shopping easier for autistic people and their families.

Last year 30,000 Autism Hours took place which includes turning down music and other noise, dimming the lights and sharing information about autism with their employees.

The National Autistic Society launched the campaign to give autistic people a break from being overloaded with 'too much information' with many shops and banks taking part this week.

Gary Grant, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Entertainer said: “Joining the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour is the absolute minimum retailers should be doing to support autistic people across the country.  

"Simple yet effective changes can make a huge impact in creating a safe and welcoming environment for autistic people, such as turning off music and reducing bright lighting wherever possible.

"It’s important that retailers support autistic people and their families and we’re proud to operate our own weekly Quiet Hour.”

What's involved in an Autism Hour?

Turning down music and other noise:

Overwhelming noise is a common barrier to autistic people accessing shops. Where possible, in-store tannoy announcements and other controllable noise should be reduced.

Dimming the lights:

Lighting, particularly fluorescent strip lighting, can be overwhelming for autistic people. Wherever possible, whilst maintaining a safe premises, lights should be dimmed or switched off.

Sharing information about autism with employees:

The charity says they don't expect everyone to be an 'autism expert' but they believe everyone should 'understand' autism.

A spokesman added: "We'll provide information about autism to help your staff make your customers' experience a positive one."

Which stores are taking part?

The Entertainer toy shop hosts Autism Hours every Saturday.

A number of other shops and businesses have already held Autism Hours this week but for those that missed them, here's a few more you can try before the end of the campaign week on Saturday.

  • A number of Co-Op stores are taking part on Saturday between 11am and 12pm
  • Home Bargains will have an Autism Hour on weekdays this week between 4 and 5pm and on Saturday between 9 and 10am
  • Morrisons 9am to 10am on Saturday
  • CeX during the store's opening hour on Saturday
  • Shoe Zone - every day this week from 9am to 10am
  • Chapelhouse Motor Company on Thursday from 6 to 7pm

You can find more about your nearest store participating in Autism Hour by clicking here.