Toy retailer Toys “R” US will hold an autism friendly exclusive event for families affected by autism and additional needs this month offering families a calm environment with their child.
The Toys “R” Us event, being held in the morning of Sunday, March 29, will be a browsing event for families allowing them to visit their local store offering a relaxed environment to enjoy the experience of shopping with their children together. The event, planned with the help of the National Autistic Society (NAS), will allow families to browse the latest selection of toys and games in a subdued environment as recommended by the charity and other local groups across the country.
All stores will have reduced fluorescent lighting, no loud music or tannoy announcements and autism-friendly signage, among other initiatives, to ensure a more calming influence in store.
Mike Coogan, Toys “R” Us’ marketing and ecommerce director, said: “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.
“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, added: “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.”
Stores will be open for the event in England and Wales from 9am to 11am, Scotland 8am to 10am, Northern Ireland 11am to 1pm. After this time, stores will be open as usual to the public.
However, there are a few exceptions to these times:
•Bayswater 10am to 12pm
•Burton 9am to 10.30am
•Kingston 10am to 11am
•Silverburn 8am to 10am
•Stirling 9am to 11am.
Shoppers should note that due to Sunday trading legislation, Toys “R” Us will be unable to perform any sales transactions, process any direct purchases or complete any returns until the official store opening time at 10am (Scotland), 11am (England and Wales) or 1pm (Northern Ireland).
Toys “R” US notes that this may cause concerns to some families whose children may struggle with the patience of waiting between choosing their items and their parents being able to pay for them. But any parents who wish to return later that morning to pay for shopping will be offered this opportunity.