Life Health & Wellbeing

Tuesday 6 December 2016

One Irish supermarket hailed for 'autism friendly' initiative

Geraldine Gittens

Published 13/04/2016 | 11:54

All the music and in-store announcements are turned off every Tuesday between 7pm and 9pm.
All the music and in-store announcements are turned off every Tuesday between 7pm and 9pm.

One Irish supermarket has started an initiative to make its environment more “autism friendly”.

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Scally's Supervalu in Clonakilty, Co Cork has taken steps to make its shopping environment every Tuesday between 7pm and 9pm.

The supermarket creates an atmosphere to reduce the amount of sensory stimulation taking place every Tuesday night between 7pm and 9pm.

All the music and in-store announcements are turned off during that time.

Shop owner Eugene Scally told independent.ie: “We don’t realise the massive difference a small change can make.”

“The biggest problem is the music, and the calling on the tannoy system, or the lighting for people with autism.”

"We've had a great response to it. We would have people coming from as far west as Skibbereen, Bandon, Kinsale, Cork city.”

“People who have hearing aids are delighted with the facility as well because apparently the sound of phones or music or the tannoy ringing in an ear piece can be irritating.”

Mr Scally said he was initially approched by a woman who was studying autism to introduce the initiative, and now he is looking at running the initiative at an earlier time.

“A woman called Patricia O’Leary was studying in UCC as a second year student, and she realised from her research and studies that the shopping environment was not ideal with telephones ringing and bright lighting. She asked me if she’d be interested in facilitating her as part of her study and I was delighted to be asked."

“We would have no issue with changing it from 3-5pm on Saturdays,” he said.

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