A Galway supermarket chain is making changes to its shops to accommodate people with autism.
Joyce’s Supermarkets have implemented special autism awareness hours in two of its nine stores, Headford and Athenry.
The sensory changes include reduced lighting in the stores, no in-store announcements, the store radio switched turned off, and till sounds lowered, while extra assistance is also available to customers on request.
The changes will take place every Tuesday from 7pm to 9pm, and owner Pat Joyce hopes to roll these changes out in all stores over the coming months.
"We hope these sensory adjustments will make shopping a smoother experience for people with autism," he says.
Sensory maps of each store will also be available to customers.
Joyces Supermarkets made the announcement on World Autism Awareness Day. It is estimated that one in 100 people in Ireland have a diagnosis of autism and this number has increased over the last number of years.
Some experiences are more likely to cause stress and anxiety for someone with autism and shopping is one of those. Shops are busy, have bright lights, loud noises, strong smells and many other factors which can affect someone with autism.