Safe and Autism friendly shopping at MacDonagh Junction
MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre in Kilkenny has announced the introduction of autism friendly retail hours.
The aim of this new initiative is to ensure a more inclusive shopping experience by regulating and reducing the amount of sensory stimulation taking place for people with autism. Reduced noise and lighting levels, priority seating, online social stories and the availability of ear defenders are among some of the measures being introduced by the programme which will run each Sunday between 12pm and 2pm.
The Centre partnered with AsIAm, Ireland’s national autism charity and advocacy organisation to participate in a training session to gain a better insight into autism and to learn how best to engage with customers with the condition in an effort to resolve common challenges.
The Centre has long established itself as an inclusive shopping space with services including accessible toilet facilities, wheelchair loan service, height adjustable changing bench, baby feeding room, age friendly shopping and free Wi-Fi. Centre Manager Marion Acreman stated “we are very proud of the space we occupy here in Kilkenny since 2007 and the services we offer to the local community, not just for shopping but as a living and a community space. It is very important to us that all visitors can feel comfortable when they choose to support MacDonagh Junction. It was a real pleasure, working with AsIAm, our own team and the retail teams to learn more about autism and to analyse our facilities to see how we can make the experience for people with autism better so we can continue to improve our service. We welcome any feedback from people with autism or families of persons with autism in the weeks ahead as this programme begins”. For more information on this initiative visit www.macdonaghjunction.com