A mother of a nine-year-old boy with autism said she was “fighting back tears” after they were able to successfully complete their grocery shopping for the first time thanks to Coles’ ‘quiet hour’.
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.
But after two stores in Victoria started trialling a “low sensory shopping experience”, the young family were able to accomplish something they had never done in the past.
“Today was a milestone for us. We filled a trolley!!! No mad dash to get in and out as quickly as possible only grabbing a handful of items,” Ms Dive wrote in an emotional Facebook post.
The young mum had nothing but praise for Coles’ Quiet Hour, a trial that sees the lights dimmed by 50 per cent, radio volume reduced, trolley collections avoided and free fruit offered at customer service.
“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 added.
“Today, these were obsolete. Today we walked side by side for the entire shopping trip, and the hardest challenge he faced was to make a decision about choosing grain waves or tiny teddies.”
The stores in Ringwood and Balwyn East are offering the quiet experience as part of a partnership with Autism Spectrum Australia – a trial that the Victorian mother hopes will help Lachlan build his confidence.
“It may not seem like much to some, but this is massive for us,” she wrote.
Seven News Online has contacted Ms Dive for comment.