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Local opticians supports people living with autism

STAFF at Specsavers North Shields have completed a course, developed with The National Autistic Society, to support customers with autism.

The initiative, which is being rolled out across Specsavers stores nationwide, aims to build the team’s knowledge about the lifelong developmental disability, while helping to improve the customer experience for people with autism, and their carers.

The online learning modules cover understanding autism; communicating with people with autism; how autism can impact the senses, and adjustments that stores can make.

Edward O’Gara, optician director at Specsavers North Shields, says: ‘Autism affects more than one in 100 people1 and as our store is such a big part of the community, it is vital that we are able to communicate and support someone with the condition in the most effective way possible.

‘Many members of the team have already completed the different learning modules. We are very proud to be involved in support The National Autistic Society and we hope this training will help make the optical experience easier for people who are living with the condition.’

Patricia Giles, dispensing optician, says: ‘The training has been greatly beneficial as it has given me the confidence to be able to support customers with autism, ensuring they have a positive customer experience in store.

‘The modules have been completely worthwhile, and the work The National Autistic Society does is truly remarkable. I think this training should be offered to all workplaces, I was grateful I could undertake the training as part of my job.’

The National Autistic Society’s business development manager, Sharlene Wright, says: ‘This has been a great opportunity for us to increase awareness of autism in partnership with an organisation that is proactively seeking to enable autistic people to have a positiveexperience in its stores. It has been an inspiring collaboration and The National Autistic Society welcomes the open attitudes and minds with which Specsavers is seeking to enhance the lives of people on the autism spectrum.’