Toys “R” Us has announced it will be holding additional Christmas shopping hours specifically for families affected by autism and special needs.
The toy shop hopes to provide a positive experience for children with autism, who may struggle under normal conditions in store.
Lights will be slightly dimmed and fluorescent lighting will be reduced where possible. Music and tannoy announcements will be switched off and a quiet zone will be available if needed.
The event, running in all stores across the UK, will take place on the morning of Sunday 6 November 2016.
Mike Coogan, Toys ‘R’ Us marketing and eCommerce director, said: “Making slight adjustments to stores and creating a ‘quiet’ shopping period allows children and young adults to experience the fun in a toy shop regardless of their disability.
“We understand toys are more personal to many additional needs individuals, so being able to relax and choose something special themselves and enjoy the facilities and content of the store, the same as other children can do without concerns, will help in making their Christmas truly magical.”
The store has been working with autism groups across the country to understand the needs of children with autism and create the ideal environment.
Daniel Cadey, autism access manager for the National Autistic Society, said: “For many autistic people and their families a simple trip to the shops, which should be an enjoyable experience, can be fraught with difficulty.
“Autistic children and adults can become overwhelmed with too much information inside a busy store.
“Things like artificial lighting and loud tannoy announcements can increase their anxiety and be completely overwhelming, even causing them physical pain.
“We are delighted that the store is showing the way by hosting an autism-friendly shopping event.”
The stores will all open one hour prior to official store opening times.
Due to Sunday Trading legislation, Toys ‘R’ Us stores in England, Northern Ireland and Wales won’t be able to process any purchases until the official store opening time at 11am in England and Wales or 1pm in Northern Ireland.
Any parents, who wish to return later that day to pay for shopping, will be offered this opportunity. Scottish stores will be able to carry out transactions straight away. For more information, contact your local store.