April 1-7 is World Autism Awareness Week.
During this week Amicus will discuss how we can create a more inclusive community for children and adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
We recognise there is still a great need to increase understanding of ASD and what it means to be a fully inclusive community.
Let’s talk first about ASD, and how it can affect the lives of the people and families who are diagnosed with it.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
AAD is a lifelong neuro–development condition that, among other things, affects the way people with the condition may relate to their environment and how they interact with other people.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means people living with autism experience a range of physical and social difficulties, plus the degree to which each individual is affected varies from person to person.
How does interacting with everyday environments affect people with ASD?
Many people with ASD experience heightened sensory sensitivities around sight, sounds, touch, taste, and smell. Trouble processing sensory stimuli is common among people with ASD but every person is different.
Some people have increased sensitivity to what they feel and see and hear, and others may experience reduced sensitivity or have trouble putting together information from multiple senses at once. Experiencing places with bright lighting, loud environments and busy atmospheres can be particularly overwhelming, painful, or even scary.
How can local businesses support individuals with ASD and their families?
For many of the participants and their families that we support at Amicus, low-sensory shopping times are a welcomed introduction.
We have had multiple families with a child on the spectrum share instances where they have avoided taking children to bustling places such as shopping centers, public events, and waiting rooms because they are too noisy or overstimulating.
The quiet hour concept offers a low-sensory shopping experience designed to be easier on the eyes and ears by reducing background noises, bright and flashing lights, and other distractions in–store.
Businesses who implement a regular quiet time to shop each week with less noise, duller lighting and understanding staff, will really make a difference many families.
Who offers a quiet hour in our region?
A selection of Coles and Woolworths supermarkets across Australia are implementing quiet hours to help customers with sensory processing disorders, such as ASD and other conditions, to have a more enjoyable and inclusive shopping experience.
We welcome this as a progressive step towards community inclusiveness. Currently, Quiet Hour is being trialed at Kangaroo Flat every Tuesday between 10:30 am – 11:30 am.
You can check if your local Coles and Woolworths supermarket has introduced a quiet hour by viewing the locations at Coles and Woolworths online.
If you know any other businesses from the Central Victoria region who also provide a supportive and inclusive service, shopping or dining environment, OR would like to know what small changes you can make in your own business to be more accessible and inclusive, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can Amicus help with me or my child cope with distressing sensory stimuli?
Amicus support principles believe that people with ASD and their families are experts in their own lives and work with families to understand how to support each individual best.
We deliver NDIS Supported Independent Living (SIL), skill building supports and higher intensity support, working closely with families to provide continuity of support for people with ASD.
Amicus supports can assist people with ASD and their families work towards their goals, build capacity by learning new skills or refining skills and accessing respite if required.
For more information about our services visit or telephone (03) 5441 2666 between 9 am and 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.