Toys “R” Us to hold Christmas Shopping Events for families affected by autism

TRU Autism Event 6th NovemberToys“R”Us are to hold an autism-friendly browsing event for families affected by autism and additional needs.

The event will take place on the morning of Sunday 6th November and will offer the opportunity for families to enjoy an hour of browsing, discovering Christmas gift ideas, and experience an everyday environment that may not always be easy for children affected by autism to cope with under normal conditions. Families will have the store exclusive to them for that hour.

Every Toys “R” Us will alter conditions within the store to ensure a successful and enjoyable event is achieved.  Lights will be slightly dimmed and fluorescent lighting reduced where possible.  Music and Tannoy announcements will be switched off during the event and autism friendly signage will be utilised to offer a more calming influence and a quiet zone will be available should the need arise.

The original event in 2014 was initiated by Toys “R” Us Leeds in collaboration with Victoria Holdsworth, Founder of local autism group – Autism friendly UK, since then Toys“R”Us® has worked with further autism groups across the country including fund raising activities for the National Autistic Society.

Mike Coogan, Toys“R”Us® Marketing and eCommerce Director, said: “Holding such events have given our teams extreme pride in reaching out to autism groups within their community. Making slight adjustments to stores and creating a ‘quiet’ shopping period allows children and young adults to experience the fun in a toy shop regardless of their disability”.

“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”.

Daniel Cadey, autism access manager for the National Autistic Society, said: “For many autistic people and their families a simple trip to the shops, which should be an enjoyable experience, can be fraught with difficulty.

“Autistic children and adults can become overwhelmed with too much information inside a busy store. Things like artificial lighting and loud tannoy announcements can increase their anxiety and be completely overwhelming, even causing them physical pain.

“So we are delighted that Toys R Us is again showing the way by hosting an autism friendly shopping event in every Toys “R” Us store in the lead up to Christmas.  Staff who understand autism will be on hand to help, and the lighting and amplified sound levels will be reduced to lessen the impact on autistic customers.  Simple changes like this can make a huge difference to the 700,000 autistic people in the UK and to their families. We hope that many more major retailers will follow the great example set by Toys R Us.”

The Stores will open 1 hour prior to official store opening times.  Due to Sunday Trading legislation, Toys “R” Us stores in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are unable to perform any sales transactions, process any Direct purchases or complete any returns until the official store opening time at 11am (England & Wales) or 1pm (Northern Ireland).

This may cause concerns to some families whose children may struggle with the patience of waiting between choosing their items and being able to pay for them due to Sunday Trading laws. Any parents, who wish to return later that morning to pay for shopping, will be offered this opportunity. Scottish stores will be able to carry out transaction straight away.



TIMES:            England and Wales    10am to 11*am,

Scotland         9am to 10*am,

Northern Ireland     12am to 1*pm.

Exceptional Times –  There maybe exceptional times in some Shopping Centres, For further information on your local event, please contact your local Toys “R” Us store.

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