Toys "R" Us stores in the UK are offering a "quiet hour" for shoppers with autism this holiday, and we'd love if U.S. retailers did the same!
Remember that part in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas when the kids of Whoville play with dozens of toys and the Grinch grimaces and moans about all the "Noise, noise, noise, noise?"
Yep. I think of that moment every time I try to take my two kids shopping during the holidays. Yes, they both love toys and, yes, they both adore toy stores—but they both have sensory issues and my oldest is non-speaking and autistic. This means that going to big toy stores like Toys "R" Us just isn't an option for us during the holiday season (or even most days). Crowds, fluorescent lights, loud music, and many other sensory triggers overwhelm both my kids (and me, if I'm being honest) and we usually leave within minutes of stepping into the store.
But it doesn't have to be this way. And to that point, Toys "R" Us stores in the UK are doing something wonderful this holiday season that I wish my family could enjoy: they're setting aside a "quiet hour" for shoppers with autism.
As Toys "R" Us marketing director Mike Coogan told The Telegraph, "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."
I love this attitude and it reflects one of my core beliefs: We shouldn't change our kids with disabilities to fit the world, but rather we should try to change the world to better support our children.
This quiet hour is one small step, but it's one that I hope US retailers pick up on as well. So, share this, tag your favorite store, and tell them how great a quiet hour would be for kids of all abiliites and their families this holiday season and perhaps even every month.
Jamie Pacton writes middle grade and young adult fiction, drinks loads of coffee, dreams of sailing, and enjoys each day with her husband and two sons. Find her at www.jamiepacton.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter@jamiepacton.