GUWAHATI, April 2 - Shopping is an activity which people engage in, on a daily basis. However, for children with autism and intellectual disabilities and their families, it is not a cakewalk and becomes especially stressful.
On the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day, Big Bazaar, in association with Shishu Sarothi, observed �Quiet Hour� from 10.30 am to 12 noon on Monday at its 16 outlets across the country. In Guwahati, the �Quiet Hour� was observed at their Bhangagarh outlet.
�Shishu Sarothi has been involved in this initiative, which is a first-of-its-kind in India. We provided training to the staff at the store prior to the event in order to sensitise them so that they can assist the families of autistic children in a responsible and sensitive manner during the �Quiet Hour�. Apart from training of staff, the store space was audited for the event by a team at Shishu Sarothi to make the premises of the store comfortable for children with autism during the �Quiet Hour�,� a statement said.
The programme saw the participation of 50 autistic children and their families. To make their shopping experience more conducive, lights at the store were dimmed; the volume of music lowered, and announcements and the escalators were stopped.
During the �Quiet Hour�, several fun activities were conducted for the children such as �Picture Book Reading�, getting them involved in art and craft as well as games such as �9 Pins� and �Passing the Ball�.
�We hope such initiatives continue and are carried out frequently so that society at large becomes inclusive and this otherwise neglected group of children and their families find their voice,� a Shishu Sarothi spokesperson said.