Vodafone Ireland announces autism-friendly store hours
25 stores across the country will offer the free use of a variety of sensory inputs for visitors.
Vodafone Ireland has announced plans to introduce autism-friendly retail hours in a number of its stores across Ireland.
The new initiative - part of a company-wide neurodiversity programme that will run across retail, employment opportunities, events and education - will see reduced noise, priority seating and appointments every Wednesday between 9am and 11am.
The programme has been created in partnership with AsIAm, a non-profit charity organisation that works on behalf of Ireland's autism community to empower, educate and advocate concerns thereof.
The overall goal is to create an atmosphere that improves the shopping experience for autistic visitors. To that end, an audit of Vodafone stores was conducted, identifying areas that could benefit from improvement.
In order to help an autistic person feel more comfortable in their sensory environment, the designated Vodafone stores will offer the free use of a variety of sensory inputs in the form of a 'relaxation box'.
The box, easily accessible to all customers, will include sunglasses with a visor, a stress ball, ear defender equipment and scented tags.
Vodafone staff will also engage with a training module in conjunction with AsIAm, affording them the tools and knowledge with which to be more inclusive on a day-to-day basis.
The autism friendly store hours will commence at 25 stores across the country with plans to roll out across the rest of Ireland later in 2020.