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Walmart Brings Back Sensory-Friendly Hours to all U.S. Stores

Photo courtesy Walmart

A retail store can be an overwhelming experience for those on the autism spectrum, so beginning Nov. 10 Walmart will create a sensory-friendly environment for two hours per day, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., in all its U.S. and Puerto Rico stores.

The program, which includes tuning display TVs to a static image, turning off the radio and lowering the lights where possible, debuted during the back-to-school season but will now continue indefinitely. Walmart said it received positive feedback from the initial program via face-to-face conversations, emails, listening sessions and social media.

“Several associates expressed the desire to continue this program all year,” said Tyler Morgan, a Walmart Store Manager in a statement. “We have associates with autism, ADHD, etc. in the store and one associate made the comment that this is the first time the company did something just for him. I know we could all use some calm during the stressful holiday season, so I hope this program can continue.”

“I have a child on the autism spectrum, so sensory overload is a lived experience in our house,” said Nuala O’Connor, SVP and Chief Counsel, Digital Citizenship at Walmart in a statement. “ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and other forms of neurodiversity are often an invisible disability. It is meaningful to so many families that Walmart is implementing sensory-friendly hours.”

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