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Quiet Hour hailed

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November 23, 2017

"Quiet Hour" at Coles supermarkets provides a low sensory shopping experience for autistic children. The Melbourne trial will see the expanison into 68 Australian stores, including Coles Benalla.

A Shepparton mother of autistic children has welcomed the expansion of ‘‘Quiet Hour’’ at Coles supermarkets across Australia.

The shopping giant recently partnered with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) to trial a low sensory shopping experience at two of its stores in Melbourne.

Following on from the successful trial, Quiet Hour will be expanded to 68 supermarkets, including Coles in Benalla.

For one hour a week, the select Quiet Hour shops will dim the lights, lower the noise and make other discreet changes to make it a lower sensory shopping experience.

Shepparton mother Deborah Hay, who has two children with autism, said it could make the weekly grocery shopping a little bit easier for many parents.

‘‘With my kids, if I take them shopping at the same time, it is like their brain is getting overloaded with information,’’ Ms Hay said.

‘‘(To them), the noise could feel like someone is shouting in their ear.’’

She said parents of autistic children often scouted areas like ‘‘secret agents’’ to find anything that could potentially be overwhelming for their children.

‘‘I have friends with kids who can get extremely overloaded by sensory input,’’ she said.

‘‘It would be good to know they can go in there and grab some milk or bread and it’s not a situation where they get really stressed.’’

She hoped it would be introduced to Coles supermarkets in Shepparton.

Quiet Hour will be every Tuesday between 10.30am and 11.30am at participating stores.

‘‘At Coles, we are always looking at ways we can meet the differing needs of our customers by creating a shopping environment in which our customers and team members feel comfortable,’’ Coles accessibility sponsor Peter Sheean said.

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