Glen Innes Woolworths to adopt autism-friendly quiet hour

WOOLIES: Chris Chippendale, Life Without Barriers Executive with Woolworths staff.
WOOLIES: Chris Chippendale, Life Without Barriers Executive with Woolworths staff.

Glen Innes Woolworths will adopt a low-sensory quiet hour to cater to autistic customers and children.

The supermarket chain will lower lights, turn down music and radio, turn off over buzzers and generally create a quieter and less stimulating environment between 10.30am and 11.30am every Tuesday.

People with autism are particularly highly sensitive to their environment and their senses can be overloaded by too much stimulation, though people not on the spectrum can also be effected.

Even worse, there's little or nothing a person can do to mitigate overstimulation, which can be very uncomfortable.

Glen Innes store manager Brian Cormick said he had heard from customers that there is a need for the change.

"Our team takes great pride in ensuring the store is quieter and less stressful for customers who want to shop during quiet hour and we look forward to welcoming them in store,: he said.

Woolworths Glen Innes is joining more than 260 stores nationally, including 87 in NSW and the ACT.

The low sensory initiative was developed in consultation with disability service providers at Life Without Barriers.

Life Without Barriers chief executive Claire Robbs said it was about catering to people with different accessibility needs.

"It gives people a way to do their shopping and increase their independence in an environment that is not stressful and overwhelming to them," she said.

During quiet hour, Woolworths will also reducing volume on store phones and registers on the trading floor, remove roll cages from the shop floor and eliminate PA announcements except in case of an emergency.

Autism spectrum Australia estimates more than 300,000 Australians are on the autism spectrum, more than one in 70.