New Seasons Market, a chain known for its commitment to community well-being and sustainability, has implemented a Sensory-Friendly Shopping Hour to accommodate those with sensory sensitivities. During this designated time, the store environment is adjusted to create a more comfortable and inclusive space.
Sensory sensitivities refer to heightened reactions to sensory stimuli, including sounds, lights, and textures. Individuals with conditions like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience sensory overload in crowded and noisy environments, making routine activities like grocery shopping challenging. Recognizing and addressing these challenges is essential for fostering an inclusive community.
During the Sensory-Friendly Shopping Hour, New Seasons Market dims the store lights and reduces background noise to create a calmer atmosphere. This helps minimize sensory overload for individuals who may be sensitive to bright lights and loud sounds. Employees working during the Sensory-Friendly Shopping Hour undergo specialized training to better understand the needs of customers with sensory sensitivities. This includes learning about communication strategies and recognizing when assistance may be required.
Designated quiet zones are established within the store to provide individuals with a space to take a break if they feel overwhelmed. These areas are equipped with comfortable seating and sensory-friendly activities. To assist individuals with autism or related conditions, New Seasons Market provides visual guides that outline the store layout, helping customers navigate the aisles more easily.
Specially designed shopping carts with additional padding and sensory-friendly features, such as soft handles, are available during this hour to enhance the overall shopping experience.
This is a commendable step toward creating an inclusive and accommodating shopping experience for individuals with sensory sensitivities. New Seasons Market is setting a positive example for how simple adjustments can make a significant impact on the lives of individuals with diverse needs.