When you think of a circus, you think of the wild events, strange lights, and the scents of food and animals, all that comes with it—but rarely would you imagine a child with autism-related hypersensitivity being able to tolerate it.
When you think of Toys “R” Us, it’s unlikely that you are envisioning a relaxed atmosphere for children. However, the toy superstore is currently searching for effective new ways to ensure that those with autism can have a more stress-free shopping experience.
For reasons unknown to scientists, individuals with autism can be subjected to heightened senses of smell and sound, making it rather difficult for them to interpret the different sensations.
Due to their misperception of their surroundings, they may behave in ways that can be seen as socially unacceptable to those who are unfamiliar with the condition. For instance, they may be more inclined to throwing tantrums while in public.
Angela Blanchet, from Long Island, NY, was visiting a local toy store with her autistic son Benjamin, 11, when they were both denied entry due to her son’s condition. The store’s reasoning behind not allowing autistic children access during normal business hours was based on the fact that “they don’t want to turn off their customers,” said Blanchet.
Happily, autism awareness has been on the rise in recent years, and businesses are beginning to take proactive steps towards accommodating those affected by the condition.
Although no details are set as yet, Toys “R” Us is currently in the early stages of reconstructing their stores’ environment in order to more effectively serve the autistic community.
“We’re working on a plan to test these types of opportunities on a local level — pairing our stores
with local organizations to create an event for kids with special needs and their families,” said spokeswoman Candace Disler.
The company is looking to scale their plan on a national level as well.
While Blanchet still feels as though there are extreme levels of intolerance for children with autism, she seems to be happy with the progress of Toys “R” Us.
“I think it’s great what Toys “R” Us is doing,” stated Blanchet.
This piece is based on an article by CBSnews.com, which can be seen here.
Megan Baksh received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science at Nova Southeastern University in May of 2016, and is currently pursuing an education in the field of psychology.