PETS at Home Ruislip is teaming up with the National Autistic Society for the first week-long event where shops and services take 60 minutes to engage better with autistic people.

The Victoria Road store in South Ruislip is one of 340-plus that will be holding an autism hour this coming Sunday (8), an hour before the store officially opens.

Pets at Home will be taking simple steps to make the store more autism friendly - from dimming the lights, turning down music and till bells and sharing information about autism with employees.

More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, which means that someone sees, hears and feels the world in a different, often more intense way to other people.

Autistic people often find social situations difficult and struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience, which means they feel overwhelmed by ‘too much information’ when out in public.

The National Autistic Society’s recent survey revealed that 64% of autistic people avoid sometimes going to the shops because of their autism.

Olivia-Lee McAlpine, store manager at Ruislip said: “We will be providing a relaxed, stress-free, autism-friendly space for our customers.”

Mark Lever, CEO at the National Autistic Society said: “It is really encouraging to see shops and services such as Pets at Home getting involved.

“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.”