Abbey Centre Becomes ASD Aware

3rd August 2018

We understand that trips to the shops can be stressful for Autistic adults and children. Stress can affect behaviour and can have a profound effect on a person’s ability to do day-to-day activities like shopping. Frustration or anxiety can be caused by not knowing why we need to shop or what will happen when shopping, and a person can be overwhelmed by sensory experiences at the shops.

With this in mind, all Abbey Centre staff recently received accredited training from Autism NI and we are working towards achieving an Autism Impact Award.

We have taken practical steps to help reduce anxiety and sensory overload for autistic shoppers. An informed understanding of the difficulties or differences relating to Autism has helped us in implementing in these changes.

Steps include –

  • An Accessibility section added to our website, featuring downloadable Pre-Visit Guides, Visual Story, Mall Map and more!
  • The introduction of a regular Sensory Friendly Shopping Hour (Monday 5pm – 6pm)
  • In Case of Emergency (ICE) wristbands available free of charge from our Customer Services
  • 5 Sensory Packs available for hire from our Customer Services
  • Quiet Space available upon request from any Abbey Centre staff member
  • Fast Tracking system for advertised centre events

All changes will be ‘live’ from Monday 13th August, with the first Abbey Centre Sensory Friendly Shopping Hour, Monday 27th August 5pm – 6pm.

We wish to make Abbey Centre a more ‘Autism friendly environment’ and hope that our changes make your Abbey Centre experience as relaxing and stress-free as possible.