Coles begins 'Quiet Hour' for shoppers with autism

Coles is planning on making shopping easier for people with autism by introducing ‘Quiet Hour’ at 68 supermarkets around the country from Tuesday.

For one hour each week, the stores will switch off the radio, dim the lighting by 50 per cent and reduce register volume in a move to help shoppers who struggle with heightened sensory environments.

The initiative saw an overwhelmingly positive response from Victorian shoppers during trials earlier in 2017.

No trolley collections will take place during Quiet Hour, while announcements will only be made in emergencies.

The 'Quiet Hour' will take place between 10.30am and 11.30am every Tuesday.

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Coles has brought in a number of changes during 'Quiet Hour'. Source: AAP
Coles has brought in a number of changes during 'Quiet Hour'. Source: AAP

"People on the autism spectrum often have difficulty processing sensory information and can find sounds, light, smell, touch and taste overwhelming," Aspect's community engagement and operations manager, Linzi Coyle told Fairfax.

"Together with Coles, we're achieving a 'no-judgment' shopping space where people on the spectrum and their families can feel comfortable and welcome whilst grocery shopping."

Earlier this year, a Victorian mother of a nine-year-old boy with autism said she was left fighting back tears when they were able to successfully complete their shopping together for the first time.

In August Victorian mother Emily Dive praised Coles for the 'quiet hour' that allowed her son to help complete their grocery shopping free of hassle. Source: Supplied
In August Victorian mother Emily Dive praised Coles for the 'quiet hour' that allowed her son to help complete their grocery shopping free of hassle. Source: Supplied

On any given day, a trip to the supermarket can end in disaster for Emily Dive and her son Lachlan, who becomes easily overwhelmed by the loud noises, lights and distractions.

“Crawling under shelves, running out of the store, screaming, running, and yelling are our "norm" when we visit the supermarket. Behaviours that are his way of communicating ‘I can't cope’,” Ms Dive wrote in an emotional Facebook post.

But this was a distant memory thanks to the Coles initiative.

"We filled a trolley!!! No mad dash to get in and out as quickly as possible only grabbing a handful of items," she added.

Quiet Hour participating stores

  • SA Tea Tree Plaza

  • SA Parkholme

  • SA Anzac Highway

  • SA Mount Barker

  • SA Port Pirie

  • VIC Wendouree

  • VIC Belmont

  • VIC Brunswick West

  • VIC Burnside

  • VIC Altona Meadows

  • VIC Essendon Fields

  • VIC Pakenham Lakeside

  • VIC Ferntree Gully

  • VIC Ringwood

  • VIC Brandon Park

  • VIC Langwarrin

  • VIC Cranbourne West

  • VIC Benalla

  • VIC Prahran

  • VIC Brighton

  • VIC Eltham

  • VIC Balwyn East

  • VIC Fitzroy

  • NSW Warners Bay

  • NSW Old Bar

  • NSW Wadalba

  • NSW Lisarow

  • NSW Inverell

  • NSW Banora Point

  • NSW Medowie

  • NSW Wellington

  • NSW Bega

  • NSW Ulladulla

  • NSW Wattle Grove

  • NSW Moss Vale

  • NSW Kings Langley

  • NSW Goulburn

  • NSW Manly Vale

  • NSW Castle Hill

  • NSW Epping

  • NSW Caringbah

  • NSW Brighton-Le-Sands

  • NSW Pyrmont

  • QLD Cairns Central

  • QLD Maryborough

  • QLD Caloundra

  • QLD Kippa Ring

  • QLD Cleveland

  • QLD Everton Park

  • QLD Newfarm

  • QLD Rockhampton South

  • QLD Townsville Annandale

  • QLD Mt Gravatt

  • QLD Marsden

  • QLD Toowoomba

  • QLD Helensvale

  • QLD Mudgeeraba

  • NT Casuarina Bradshaw

  • TAS Newtown

  • WA Margaret River

  • WA Erskine

  • WA Southern River

  • WA South Lakes

  • WA Mundaring

  • WA Floreat

  • WA Hillarys

  • WA Kalgoorlie

  • WA Kalgoorlie (Hannans)