As Parents of children with Autism, it must be a daunting experience for all concerned when it comes to purchasing a pair of shoes for your child. Autism covers a wide spectrum of conditions. We are trying to train retailers about how we can make your visit less daunting. Having spent time with a young man with Autism, both he & his mum took us through what difficulties they faced. One important factor was to focus on “setting their expectations” and “not making any promises.”
In severe cases of Autism, we suggest making an appointment at a quieter time. We dim the lights & turn off the music. Prior to the visit, we suggest that Mum or Dad downloads the picture board below to take their child through the process expected with their visit. We suggest parents pop into the shop on a regular basis so that the young one can become familiar & accustomed to the environment around them. We ask questions on how we can make your experience less daunting going forward. When suggesting a shoe, for example, we select a style that will run into larger sizes as they don’t like change. We go through the process as per the Picture Board, we know routine is important to the child at all times. We never make promises, for example, "we are going to measure your feet today & see if we can find any shoes suitable for you. We won't know which shoes fit until we have tried them on your feet". Where children who have different size feet, we make sure we have both sizes available first before suggesting trying them on. Where possible we train all our staff to be fully conversant on how to approach with confidence.