Praise for Coles supermarkets after introducing “Quiet Hour” to make shopping easier for people with autism.

In August we shared that Autism Spectrum Australia said it had been working with Coles to develop the new pilot program “Quiet Hour”.

The program offers customers a low-sensory shopping experience by making small changes to the store, reports Daily Telegraph.

From 10.30am to 11.30am the stores will introduce a range of measures including reducing Coles Radio to lowest volume, dimming the lights by 50 per cent, turning down register and scanner volumes, and avoiding public announcements, excluding emergencies.

They will also offer free fruit at customer service and have trained team members available to help customers.

Coles Accessibility Sponsor Peter Sheean said they hoped the program would make a difference to customers who found it challenging to shop in a heightened sensory environment.

Mr Sheean said, “We are always looking at ways we can meet the differing needs of our customers by creating a shopping environment in which our customers and team members feel comfortable. Through Quiet Hour, we hope to make a difference to our customers who find it challenging to shop in a heightened sensory environment.”

The program is not limited to people on the autism spectrum and anyone who may benefit from the experience is encouraged to come along.

UPDATE the program will continue to run every Tuesday

Quiet Hour will now be offered at 68 stores across Australia, every Tuesday between 10:30-11:30am.

For one hour each week, the stores will switch off the radio, dim the lighting by 50 per cent and reduce register volume in a move to help shoppers who struggle with heightened sensory environments.

The initiative saw an overwhelmingly positive response from Victorian shoppers during trials earlier in 2017.

No trolley collections will take place during Quiet Hour, while announcements will only be made in emergencies.

The ‘Quiet Hour’ will take place between 10.30am and 11.30am every Tuesday.

“People on the autism spectrum often have difficulty processing sensory information and can find sounds, light, smell, touch and taste overwhelming,” Aspect’s community engagement and operations manager, Linzi Coyle told Fairfax.

“Together with Coles, we’re achieving a ‘no-judgment’ shopping space where people on the spectrum and their families can feel comfortable and welcome whilst grocery shopping.”

Further details CLICK here.

Comments have been very positive including,

“I reckon I would prefer this shopping experience and I don’t have ASD! Supermarkets are generally not sensory friendly places.”

“Omg. This would be divine!!! I LOATH & HATE going grocery shopping. But a single mumma of 2.. I kinda have to. And it’s oh such a joy to come out with less hair than you had when you go in…”

“What a fabulous idea!”

“Absolutely brilliant. Coles is to be commended for this!!!”

“Thank you Coles. As a person with a sensaural hearing loss, supermarkets present a challenge at the best of times, due to the noise and the music that is constantly being played.”

“Fantastic idea. I struggled with my boy when he was little and meltdowns where common. So many staring eyes and comments that upset me further. Every little bit of reprieve for the family is welcome.”

“What an awesome idea. Our son is high functioning but does become sensitive to noises from time to time. Hats off to Coles for the initiative.”

Would you love to see this in your local supermarket?

Share your comments below

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  • My daughter lives with ASD, she struggles with sensory overload and becomes overwhelmed very easily in shopping centres…this is a brilliant idea! will be spreading the word that’s for sure


  • I think a lot of people would appreciate this.


  • Reading this article is the first I have heard of this, great idea. They need to get the advertising out there.


  • Pleased to get an update on the Quiet Hour program and I hope it is widely advertised across communities and reaches the people that will most benefit from this long overdue incentive.


  • Good move !


  • It’s a great idea but one hour a week isn’t long… And Woolworths offer free fruit for kids All of the Time.


  • I saw this on the news and good on Coles ,great idea!


  • I actually try not to shop at Coles. I prefer to support Foodland .. shop local … but this is a good move by Coles. Credit given where credit due


  • I really still think they should make most of these things an all the time thing.


  • Fantastic that more stores will be offering this quiet time around Australia. Well done to Coles!!


  • maybe they could find a way to help incorporate technology into the shopping experience via an app so that the child would be more involved and entertained


  • What a wonderful idea. I suffer from tinnutus and sensitive hearing and dont go to Coles because of the loud music, p a announcements and loud scanners, but I will shop at Ringwood Coles on a Tuesday soon to test it out. Would be so grateful if all the Coles did the same.


  • Lets hope they try this in a few stores in each state. There would be a lot of very happy people if they do.


  • I reckon they should just make it all the time. Would make the supermarket more pleasant for everyone.


  • Great initiative !
    A pity that it’s carried out at only two locations and only for 1 hour per week on the Tuesdays.


  • this is great to see, especially for parents who have to take their kids with autism into the supermarket, it would make for a much less stressful time. Congratulations coles and I hope they roll it out nationwide – way to go for thinking outside the box and wanting to include everyone


  • Something different, someone at Coles thinkiing outside the aisle/square. Nice.


  • Congratulations, Coles!!! I hope it will go well, and slowly the program will reach other Coles around Australia!!


  • Actually have read this before …somewhere sometime???
    Any how would love this and am wondering why it only runs till October???
    Bring it on I say and have it all the time.

    • I have read this before as well – not sure when? I agree – it should be all of the time. :)


  • Yes, Id love to have supermarkets quieter and less garish.


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