Prior to Christmas 2016, the Target stores in Gympie and Brisbane in Queensland hosted one of the first sensory shopping experiences designed for children on the autism spectrum and those with stimulation processing disorders (SPD). The stores were transformed into a controlled and safe environment for families to shop in.
For many, shopping with distractions such as bright lights, colours or music is customary; however for children with autism and similar stimulation issues, this can be a frighting and overwhelming experience. Many parents of children with these conditions sadly avoid shopping, which means particularly at Christmas these children are unable to buy presents for their loved ones.
On the sensory shopping days, store team members came dressed in neutral colours to volunteer on the day and worked to create a calm and quiet experience by opening two hours earlier, dimming down lights and turning off store music. The event included free give-aways and a designated play area. A rewarding experience was had by all and Target will look at opportunities to host the program in other stores.