The United Kingdom has one of the highest rates of autism in the world, and retailers and companies are trying to better serve the families affected by this complex developmental disorder. For the third year in a row, Toys R Us stores across the country have responded by offering a quiet shopping and browsing hour on November 7th for families affected by autism and for children who have special needs. Any parent will agree that shopping, especially holiday shopping, is a stressful and harried experience, but for families of children with autism, the outing can be an emotional and behavioral minefield. Along with a quiet zone for kids who need a short break from shopping in general, the stores will turn off music and announcements and will keep the lighting low to reduce stimulation. Toys R Us stores in the U.S. have not offered this quiet hour at any of their locations as of yet, but a representative from the toy store says that plans on the local level are being made to create events for families with special needs with the purpose of replicating them nationally at some point. The UK marketing and e-commerce director of Toys R Us says, “We understand toys are more personal to many additional needs individuals, so being able to relax and choose something special themselves and enjoy the facilities and content of the store, the same as other children can do without concerns, will help in making their Christmas truly magical.”

via The Mighty and Manchester Evening News