5 ways businesses can help those with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Monday, July 18th, 2016 | Blog
A recent trend has seen large chain shopping centres holding silent hours for those living with autism. This means they can come in and do their shopping without falling victim to the sensory overload that many public places often inflict.
1. Clear and concise instructions
Some of those living with ASD can have trouble processing instructions, this is usually due to an instruction being far too vague in nature. It is important that instructions are perfectly concise and the outcome is clear, if not, it is easy to end up confused. Instructions are all around people in shopping centres, so it is important to ensure they are created taking into account those living with autism.
2. No Overly Loud, Bright and Colourful Displays
Display units are pretty much essential in retail, it’s the best way to market a product the point of sale. These can often be overly loud though, or just incredibly bright and large. Minimising the effects of these stands can help reduce the chance of a sensory overload for someone living with autism. Better yet, turn them off for a few hours a day. Designate clearly marked periods during the day in which the stalls are turned off. This will make shopping and just walking around a far easier ordeal.
3. Train employees to notice the signs of ASD, and teach them how to react appropriately
A big issue for those living with autism is the lack of awareness, some people just do not understand the disorder at all. Many people would just think a child is being unruly or naughty when in fact they are just not able to process the environment in the same way other children do. Train employees to notice the signs of it, and in turn teach them the best way to react. Someone being rude to a child because they have autism is likely to exacerbate the situation, but if they can talk to them in an appropriate manner they may just diffuse the situation and calm the person down.
4. Make shopping processes simple
Shopping anywhere is an absolute nightmare these days, it’s impossible to get through a transaction without being asked if I need extras on top of your items. “Would you like our optional insurance with that sir? How about our loyalty card scheme?”. This would be an absolute nightmare for some people living with autism, it creates a situation in which they might not know how to react, putting unneeded and unwanted pressure on them. It would be up to individual employees to use their best judgement on when and when not to ask these questions.
5. Pictures on maps
Maps are often confusing enough for most people, never mind someone that processes information in a completely different way. The best way to circumvent this is creating simple maps that use images to show what a store is offering. It simplifies something that can be confusing or overly informative for some autism sufferers.
Are there any other things businesses could do to make life easier for those living with autism? Let us know in the comments below.