A SHOPPING outlet in the Wee County will be taking steps to make the premises autism-friendly for one hour next month.

Sterling Mills is onboard with the National Autistic Society's Autism Hour initiative, which will start at 10am on October 2.

Music will be turned down, loud machines will be turned off, a quiet area will be set up and employees will receive information on the various disorders of the autism spectrum.

Autistic people experience the world in a different, often more intense way, struggling to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience which can mean they become overwhelmed.

A survey by the society revealed that 64 per cent of autistic people sometimes avoid going to the shops because of their condition.

Ashleigh Durkin, marketing manager at Sterling Mills, said: “Our stores and staff here are delighted to be able to do something for the people who find shopping a little difficult and feel very grateful that they can help even in the smallest way.

“We welcome, at all times, visitors who may need extra support and our friendly customer service officers will do their best to make sure they have the most comfortable experience possible.”

Mark Lever, CEO at the National Autistic Society, added: “It is really encouraging to see shops and services such as Sterling Mills getting involved in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.

“Like anyone, people on the autism spectrum and their families want the opportunity to go to the shops. But many find the often busy, loud and unpredictable environment of public places overwhelming and avoid them altogether.

“Our Too Much Information campaign has highlighted that the smallest changes can make the biggest difference for autistic people and we are confident this week-long event around the UK will help shops and services understand how we can work towards a more autism friendly world.”