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Toys“R”Us marks World Autism Awareness Week with exclusive store browsing event

Friday March 20, 2015 at 9:52am
Toys“R”Us will hold an autism-friendly exclusive ‘experience’ event for families affected by autism and additional needs this month, supporting World Autism Awareness Week and offering families a calm environment to shop with their child. The Toys“R”Us event takes place on the morning of Sunday March 29 and will be a browsing event for families, offering them an environment more suited to their children’s needs. Reduced fluorescent lighting, no loud music or tannoy announcements and autism-friendly signage are just some of the initiatives Toys“R”Us will be carrying out to ensure a more calming influence in store. The event has been planned in conjunction with the National Autistic Society (NAS). Mike Coogan, Toys“R”Us marketing and e-commerce director, says: “We understand that bright lights, tall racks, strange smells, noises and unknown people can sometimes be daunting for children affected by autism, but an event like this allows lots of children and their families to visit our store together and enjoy the facilities and content of the store, the same as other children can do without concerns.” Coogan adds: “All our staff have been briefed and guided by information from the NAS over the past few weeks and are keen to welcome families into store to enjoy the overall browsing experience. They will have the opportunity to discover new toys suited to their needs and try them out. We will also have product advisors on hand to offer advice on toys and electronics, all in a subdued store environment at their leisure.” Alastair Graham, NAS marketing and fundraising director, says: “The NAS is really impressed by how Toys“R”Us has put together this UK-wide event in response to overwhelming interest from families. This is the second nationwide event of its kind in a growing and welcome trend of autism-friendly initiatives from retailers, theatres and others who recognise the importance of offering people with autism and their families’ access to experiences and services. We’re very pleased to have been able to help.” Due to Sunday Trading legislation, Toys“R”Us will not be able to perform any sales transactions, process any direct purchases or complete any returns until the official store opening time at 10.00am (Scotland), 11.00am (England and Wales) or 1.00pm (Northern Ireland). Given that autistic children may struggle with waiting between choosing their items and their parents being able to pay for them due to Sunday Trading laws, Toys“R”Us will be allowing parents the opportunity to select products in the morning and set them aside, then return to pay for them later. World Autism Awareness Week runs from March 27 to April 2 2015. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours. The National Autistic Society is the UK's leading charity for people with autism and their families, providing a range of services to help people with autism and Asperger syndrome. For more information, visit the NAS website, www.autism.org.uk.
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