The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has launched new guidance for retailers on how to meet the needs of disabled customers in store.

The guide has been developed in partnership with the Business Disability Forum, and covers a range of issues including wheelchair access, how to assist blind or visually impaired customers and how to assist those with learning disabilities.

Jolanta Lasota, CEO Ambitious about Autism explains why increased awareness for smaller shop owners is so important for those with autism:

“One in a hundred people in the UK have autism, so it is crucial that institutions such as local shops have understanding and awareness. The noise, crowds and bright lights found in large supermarkets and shopping centres can be an intimidating and imposing experience for those with autism, meaning local shops are often the preferred place to go for regular shopping.

“As mentioned in the guide, being attentive, encouraging and patient will go a long way to accommodating those with autism. However, it is important to remember not to be patronising – many people with autism lead independent lives and will only sometimes need a little extra guidance.

“We are delighted to see learning disabilities being addressed in this guide and hope it goes a long way to encourage independence for those with autism and other less visible disabilities.”

Some of the top tips from the guide are:

  • Treat a disabled person in the same manner andwith the same respect and courtesy you would anyone else.
  • Providing good customer service to disabled customers will sometimes mean doing things differently
  • Do not make assumptions about the existence or absence of a disability: many people have disabilities that are not visible or immediately apparent.
  • Advertise that your services are fully accessible and provide relevant details, otherwise disabled people will go somewhere else that does.
  • Some disabled people need a little more time than usual for everyday tasks, such as finding items or paying. Always be patient and give extra help if it’s needed.

To see the full list of tips and download the guide, click here

About Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects 1 in 100 people in the UK. It affects the way a person communicates and how they experience the world around them.

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