Dozens of Preston businesses are taking part in the Autism Hour, such as The Entertainer, Sainsbury’s, Superdrug and Tesco.
The National Autistic Society is raising awareness for the need to create a world that works for autistic people.
It is doing this by working with businesses across the UK to help them understand what they can do to support their autistic customers throughout the year.
Angela Sayers, from Cop Lane Coffee House and Restaurant, a local business which is also taking part in the campaign, said: “I believe it’s very important to be inclusive.
“If we can provide a stress free environment so people can enjoy getting out and about I’m happy.
“I do understand some of the challenges autistic people face in the community being a mum of an autistic person and I think Autism Hour is brilliant at letting people know they can go out socially and be understood, it also helps raise awareness.”
The Autism Hour campaign week started on the 5th of October and over 14,500 businesses are participating by making adjustments in order to create a more autism-friendly environment to shop in.
The adjustments include reducing background noise, educating staff and the public about autism, dimming lights and giving clear information about where things are in the shop.
According to the National Autistic Society: “There are 700,000 autistic people in the UK. Along with their families, that’s over three million customers that are often unable to go shopping without fear of overwhelm or judgement.”
The National Autistic Society hopes that the Autism Hour is not only seen as 60 minutes, but as an opportunity for businesses to learn about autism and aim to make permanent changes.
You can find out which businesses are taking part in the area where you live by accessing the National Autistic Society’s website and using their interactive map.