This isn’t the blog I was going to post today but…
I was walking through my local shopping centre this morning and as it was 10am-ish all was reasonably quiet people-wise and I thought “this would be an ideal time to take D shopping – had she not been at school”.
Then I turned the corner into the next parade of shops, music blaring out from one shop, which always looks quite intimidating – no disabled access, you have to go up steps to get in, very dark atmosphere and very cramped, you almost need night vision goggles to go shopping in there – and the shop opposite was playing its music louder to drown out the other shop.
I tried to imagine how D would feel. Calm and happy up to the point when we turned the corner and then complete sensory overload from either side of the mall. Meltdown city no doubt.
I then thought of “World Autism Day” and whilst people’s perceptions aren’t going to change overnight, I wondered if the manager of the shopping centre would consider – either for World Autism Day or the day before, a Sunday – asking those shops that DO play music loudly and constantly to either turn the music down or off on that day or play something calmer and having notices in their shop windows saying “we are doing this to promote World Autism Day and to encourage special needs families to come shopping today”.
I’m going to phone the shopping centre today, I don’t know if he’s going to agree or not but wouldn’t that be great if he did?
Of course, I’m talking one shopping centre but what you do think? Could it be rolled out to more?
Keep you posted, please leave any comments below
An update 1st March:
Got advised to email shopping centre manager, he would not discuss on the phone, telephone operator was under the impression I wanted money
Berkshire autistic society sending me leaflets and information
National Autistic Society sending leaflets, balloons, t-shirts, collection tins and a banner
Will be speaking to local shops tomorrow
This is what I have sent to the shopping centre manager, if you wish to do the same in your area, please feel free to copy the text used:
For the attention of the Shopping Centre Manager:
I tried to telephone you yesterday but was advised to contact you by email.
I don’t know if you are aware of autism – a lifetime disability that affects 1 in 100 people – but as a parent to an autistic child, one of the issues that prevents me bringing her into the Oracle at the weekend is the background music being played in the shops.
I was in the shopping centre yesterday morning and two clothing shops near the Disney Store seemed to be competing between themselves as to who could play the louder music. Loud music like that is a complete sensory overload for autistic people and one of their first instincts would be to get away from it quickly & without thought for their safety or those of other people, not an ideal situation if the shopping centre is full of people.
The purpose of this email is to ask whether you would consider asking the shops in the Oracle to not play their music on either World Autism Day or the day before to encourage special needs families to shop at that time. It doesn’t need to be all day, just for a period.
I have leaflets, stickers etc coming from the National Autistic Society which I could leave at your information desk for people to read. I could also make some posters with “we have turned our music down for World Autism Day” on them that could be displayed in shop windows/entrances to the Oracle.
Because Autism is an invisible disability, any awareness raised is a definite bonus.
Should you agree, I will of course alert the local newspapers. I also blog about raising Autism Awareness on my twitter account.
Again, I must emphasis this is about raising Autism Awareness, I am not asking for any money, I know you have your supported charities.
I look forward to hearing from you, either via email or on my mobile xxxxxxxxx. Very happy to come in and discuss further.
Thank you in advance