Take part in raising awareness of autism

Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop with Nick Ward, director of National Autistic Society Scotland. Pic: Martin Shields
Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop with Nick Ward, director of National Autistic Society Scotland. Pic: Martin Shields

Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop is calling on local businesses to take part in Autism Hour to encourage shops to be more autism-friendly.

Autism Hour highlights that small changes can make a big difference to autistic customers and families.

National Autistic Society Scotland hope that, after participating in Autism Hour, shops will introduce regular autism-friendly sessions.

There are around 58,000 autistic people in Scotland. Being autistic means seeing, hearing and feeling the world in a different, often more intense way to other people.

Autistic people often find social situations difficult and can struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience, which can make busy public places, like shops, overwhelming.

Ms Hyslop said: “From October 5-12 hundreds of shops around Scotland are turning down music and dimming the lights, as well as providing staff with information about autism to mark Autism Hour.

“I am pleased to support this initiative which helps create awareness of autism and how different people experience the condition differently.

“Autism Hour is a great initiative and I’d encourage businesses across West Lothian to get involved.

“Creating an autism friendly environment can be easy to do and can go a long way to making autistic people and their families feel welcome.”

Nick Ward, director of National Autistic Society Scotland, added: “I’m delighted Fiona is supporting Autism Hour and encouraging businesses to take part.

“We know that 66 per cent of autistic people in Scotland avoid the shops. And, shockingly, 27 per cent have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated with their autism. They and their families want and deserve to have the opportunity to go to the shops, just like anyone else.

“Holding an Autism Hour is the first step to creating a more autism-friendly Scotland. Small changes can make a big difference for autistic people and their families.”