Toy shops create subdued atmosphere for Autism awareness

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Toys R Us mark National Autism Week

For one day in March, Toys R Us shops throughout the UK created a more relaxed atmosphere to offer a more suitable environment for children with autism.

In support of World Autism Week during March, toy shop giant Toys R Us consulted with the National Autistic Society (NAS) to adjust the environmental factors of their retail floors to suit the needs of children with autism.

A reduction in fluorescent lighting, improved signage and an absence of loud music or amplified announcements provided an environment suitable for creating a more relaxing atmosphere and a calming influence favoured by autistic children.

According to Mike Coogan of Toys R Us, the bright lights and tall racks associated with large retail outlets as well as strange smells, noises and an unfamiliar setting can be daunting for children affected by autism and so members of staff were briefed on how to provide the right setting for relaxed browsing and discovery.

Alastair Graham of the NAS welcomed the move as one of the autism-friendly initiatives that raise awareness throughout the week and provide children with lifelong development disabilities and their families with access to new experiences and services.

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