THIS Purple Tuesday we are encouraging businesses to consider how autism friendly their spaces and services are.

The annual awareness day, organised by the disability organisation Purple, is geared towards improving the customer experience for those of us with disabilities and aims to improve the customer experience for disabled people 365 days a year.

NEAS regularly collaborates with North-east businesses and attractions to improve the experience for autistic customers, and major venues including Newcastle's Life Science Centre, Eldon Square and the Metro Centre have all taken part in our Autism Acceptance Award.

However there are some small autism-friendly changes that businesses can make, so we've pulled together five top tips for organisations to follow.

Think sensory

Ask yourself: How can you adjust the environment to make it less stimulating? Think about things such as lights, sounds and smells. 

Many autistic people can be hypersensitive to certain sensory stimuli and this can leave them feeling overwhelmed and anxious. 

Adapt your communication

Are you making sense in what you are communicating?

Could you communicate in a clearer way, or could you adjust your communication method to suit the person you're communicating with?

Think about your understanding

Remember that there are many misconceptions that exist about autistic people. Simply making sure that your knowledge is accurate, up to date and from reputable sources can go a long way in contributing to autism acceptance.

Quiet hours

Remember that while quiet hours are great, you should try and embed these strategies across all your practice. 

Consider your marketing

Supporting people to know what to expect when they visit your business can help to reduce anxiety. 

Make sure that any promotional materials are accurate and up to date. For example, do they have the correct opening times on? 

If you're a business and would like to take part in our Autism Acceptance Award contact Kerrie Highcock by calling 0191 4109974 or emailing [email protected].

Access additional resources here.