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Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, has given his backing to a scheme that will help children and adults with autism to shop locally with the confidence that retailers will be able to understand them.

Simple scheme for retailers and service providers

The scheme called Autism Stress Alert has been designed and implemented by Huw’s constituent Alice Parker who is an Autism Practitioner and parent of a child with autism.  Ms Parker understands first-hand the problems faced by a child or person with autism when they are in a shopping environment.

Ms Parker has designed a simple scheme for retailers and service providers that has already been successfully implemented in Eastbourne and which she hopes to roll-out nationally. The scheme involves a simple training pack for retailers to advise them how they can help someone who identifies themselves as autistic. When someone enters a shop and shows a Stress Alert card to a member of staff, the retailers taking part in the scheme are immediately aware of the difficulties they or their parents or carer may be facing and can then help them by getting a quick check out or help them with shopping.

Alice said “Autism is a lifelong, complex developmental disability which affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people.  It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. When they enter a shop, bank or shopping mall, they may suffer from sensory overload and begin to  behave differently or in some cases may panic causing them to scream, run or lay on the floor.  As autism is a hidden disability it makes it hard for people to sympathise and this can leave families feeling isolated within their own communities.  The Autism Stress Alert scheme promotes a more user-friendly environment for autistic people and reduces stress for them and their parents or carers. It is my aim to see this scheme implemented widely in our local area and eventually nationally. I am really pleased to have the support of Huw in helping to promote the scheme in Bexhill and amongst his colleagues in Parliament.”

Huw said “I was really impressed with Alice’s Autism Stress Alert scheme to help children and adults with autism. I know from my work on autism both locally and in Parliament that there are great challenges in everyday life for parents of children with autism and adults with autism. Tasks many of us take for granted, such as popping out to the shops, can be a stressful ordeal.  Autism Stress Alert helps retailers to identify and understand their customers’ needs and means that they can offer a great service. I hope that local retailers will sign up to this simple scheme which I will also be promoting with colleagues in Parliament.”

Autism Stress Alert is a not-for-profit company. For more information and to take part in the scheme contact Alice Parker 07476 418135 Email:autismstressalert@gmail.com or visit www.autismstressalert.co.uk