TrustFord broke new ground for the industry by being the first dealer group to participate in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.
The event On 2 October offers retailers a chance to respond to the evidence from the National Autistic Society that has shown that 64% of autistic people avoid going to the shops as they find the noise and light overwhelming. Participating retailers on the day take steps to make retail environments more autism-friendly.
TrustFord dealerships made changes to their environments to make them more accessible to customers with autism. These included: turning down music and other noise such as tannoy announcements and workshop noise; dimming dealership lights; and training staff in how to best serve customers with autism.
TrustFord customer, Madge Pattison, has first-hand experience of the challenges involved in helping her eight-year-old granddaughter with autism navigate retail environments: “Last week whilst shopping, the fire alarm went off. It was awful for her and it took her the rest of the day to calm down.” Following the event, Madge thanked TrustFord colleagues for their work in making the dealership environment so welcoming for those with autism
. TrustFord’s Northern Ireland dealerships recently received the Autism Impact Award in recognition of their commitment to accessibility adjustments. Its Northern Ireland sites now offer pre-visit information booklets and sensory packs for children, ASD-friendly sessions at quieter times, chair leg protectors to stop scraping noises, and service advisors with an accredited AQA qualification in ‘Features of Autistic Spectrum Disorder’.