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New Zealand supermarket introduced a “quiet hour of shopping” for people with autism

Hunter Hogg, together with his father, chooses food during the "quiet hour"
Hunter Hogg, together with his father, chooses food during the “quiet hour”

Supermarket Countdown in New Zealand’s city of Marton introduced a special “quiet hour” for buyers with autism. On Wednesdays from 15 to 16 o’clock in the store, background music is turned off, light is dimmed, and workers do not collect trolleys in the parking lot.

The idea was put forward by a supermarket employee Lara Hogg (Lara Hogg), who has a 13-year-old son named Hunter, who has a severe form of autism. Store manager Kirsten Dinnan supported the action and the first “quiet hour” was held on April 4.

We shoot every second light in the store and turn it off in all the freezers. In addition, we went to our local store and bought several soft toys for children with autism.

Kirsten Dinnan

In Marton, there are several dozen people with autism. Local resident Annette Brown (Annette Brown) admitted that for her and her son going to the store at this time have become a real salvation.

We have Irlen syndrome [a disorder that affects the ability of the brain to process visual information], so this time is great for all of us. The light is not so bright, so much calmer. My head does not hurt and I do not bother at all.

Annette Brown

In the “quiet hours”, all buyers are allowed to enter the store, but employees ask them to behave more quietly. In addition, the administration emphasizes that at the time of the action the supermarket is turning into a “zone free from conviction” and negative comments against autistics are not allowed.

Countdown spokeswoman Keith Porter (Kate Porter) stressed that the company is considering the deployment of a “quiet hour” in other cities, where the network of stores is represented.

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