The TVs were switched off, the fluorescent lights dimmed and the speakers disconnected when The Good Guys Clarkson store held their first ever ‘Quiet Hour’ on Wednesday 21 September.
Recognising that the average shopping experience can be overwhelming for someone with autism, The Good Guys Clarkson partnered with Therapy Focus to make shopping more accessible.
The Good Guys Clarkson Store Executive, Dinesh Mepani, said he was excited to offer the experience to customers in Western Australia after seeing how well a trial of ‘Quiet Hour’ was received at a store in South Australia.
“When we heard how successful the Mile End store event was, we were really excited to get on board and try it ourselves. Our store manager’s son has autism and receives support from Therapy Focus, so we approached the organisation to support our own ‘Quiet Hour’ event,” Dinesh said.
“On the evening our team dimmed the fluorescent lights, turned off TVs, computers and music to help create the best possible shopping experience. Therapy Focus clinicians also spoke to our store staff about autism and how to best support shoppers before the event began.”
Therapy Focus CEO Matt Burrows said events such as a ‘Quiet Hour’ can help make shopping more manageable for families of children with sensory processing issues.
“Going shopping with children can be a stressful experience for any family, but when your child is overly sensitive to lights, sounds and smells, it can be really overwhelming,” Matt said.
“Having a shopping hour that takes this into account for people with autism and sensory processing issues is mutually beneficial, because people with disabilities and their families can choose to spend their money at businesses who value their custom.”
Paula Ryder’s attended the event with her family, including her son, Jake, who has autism. Paula said the Therapy Focus staff were a great support and the resources, such as social stories and fiddle toys, helped keep Jake relaxed.
“Normally Jake would run off when hearing loud sounds in stores, but it was such a calm and relaxing environment for him,” Paula said.
“It was great experience for our family. ‘Quiet Hours’ are a great idea and more stores should be doing it!”
Matt echoed Paula’s sentiments saying, “We were thrilled to partner with The Good Guys for this event and hope to see more events like this in the future. We see it as an important step to making shopping inclusive and accessible for all.”
Pictured (L-R): Front row: Paula Ryder, Therapy Focus Speech Pathologist Katie Sala Tenna, Phoenix Hamlin and Jack Hamlin. Back row: Jackson Hamlin, Therapy Focus Occupational Therapist Laura Edmonds, Good Guys employee Grant Girdwood.