Laois Nationalist – Appropriate shopping for people with autism will be introduced in the Penney’s store in Portlaoise


By Joe Barrett

Penney’s has partnered with AsIAm to introduce autistic-friendly shopping, including sensory-friendly hours at its Portlaoise store

Penney’s is to introduce autistic-friendly shopping experiences, including sensory shopping hours, to its 36 stores nationwide, including its Portlaoise store, in order to create an inclusive shopping experience for people with autism, their friends and families. The initiative was developed in partnership with AsIAm, the Irish national autism charity.

Every Sunday, starting this Sunday, November 14, people with autism and their loved ones can visit the Penney’s store in Portlaoise during the Sensory Friendly Shopping Hour knowing that several measures are in place to ensure a smoother and more inclusive shopping experience.

These measures include reducing noise throughout the store, such as silencing checkouts and in-store announcements and turning off in-store music, while providing additional assistance and support from in-store champions who have all received specialized training from AsIAm.

As part of the Autism-Friendly Shopping Experience, the store has created special digital media accessible on its website to ensure that shopping is more accessible to people with autism outside of Sensory Friendly Shopping Time. Customers can visit the relevant store page and, through visual and audio aids, prepare for the sights and sounds they may experience in the store that can cause sensory overload.

As part of the deployment, Penney employees will receive training supported by ASIAm. The training will be delivered through a personalized online learning module on autism awareness, which will be hosted on Penney’s digital learning platform.

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