Coles Announces New Autism-Friendly “Quiet Hour” Initiative Across Australia
Coles have announced that they will roll out an autism-friendly shopping experience at nearly 70 stores across the country from today, following a successful trial earlier this year.
Sixty-eight stores across Australia will participate in the Quiet Hour from 10.30am to 11.30am each Tuesday, after a successful trial run in conjunction with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect).
The lights will be dimmed to 50% lumination, the in-store radio will be switched off, the volume of beeping scanners will be turned down, trolley collections will be paused, PA announcements will be restricted to emergencies only, and trained staff will be on deck to help customers. Roll cages and shelf stocking equipment will also be removed from the shop floor and free fruit will be offered to customers.
Intended to make the shopping experience a bit easier for their customers with sensory issues, this initiative is very welcome news to many families across Australia.
“People on the autism spectrum often have difficulty processing sensory information and can find sounds, light, smell, touch and taste overwhelming,” Linzi Coyle, community engagement and operations manager at Autism Spectrum Australia, said in a statement.
“For many individuals and families, a simple trip to the shops can be difficult. The trial held at Coles in Ringwood and Balwyn East was a wonderful success and we received a lot of positive feedback from community members about their experience.
“With autism affecting one in 100 Australians, expanding this low-sensory shopping experience to more Coles stores will have a significant improvement on the lives of many children, young people and adults on the spectrum, as well as their family members.
“The modifications to the shopping experience haven’t just been about creating low physical and sensory stimulators. Together with Coles, we’re achieving a ‘no-judgment’ shopping space where people on the spectrum and their families can feel comfortable and welcome whilst grocery shopping.
“We encourage anyone who may benefit from the experience to visit a participating Coles store and try sensory-friendly shopping.”
Shoppers have taken to Facebook to praise the national supermarket chain for their inclusive initiative, but are expressing their hopes that the Quiet Hour is rolled out across every store Australia-wide. We have to agree — this would be amazing for all families with children with special needs.
Check out which stores in your region are participating in the Quiet Hour here:
• NEW SOUTH WALES •
• QUEENSLAND •
• SOUTH AUSTRALIA •
Tea Tree Plaza
• NORTHERN TERRITORY •
Casuarina — Bradshaw St
• VICTORIA •
• WESTERN AUSTRALIA •