A Specsavers practice in Glasgow has been named the first autism-friendly opticians in the UK.
The Trongate-based branch of the multiple received The National Autistic Society’s Autism Friendly Award after making changes to the store in order to reduce the difficulty and distress that many autistic people feel during eye exams.
Specsavers confirmed that these changes included introducing weekly quiet times, as well as a ‘chill out’ area, producing a leaflet that explains exactly what happens during an eye exam, and providing autism awareness training for staff.
It is only the second time that the award has been given in Scotland, with the first awarded to the Scottish Parliament.
After receiving the award, store director for Specsavers Trongate, David Quigley, said: “We are proud and honoured to be recognised as the UK’s first autism-friendly optician.
“Learning about autism and the small adjustments that can be made in store to help support autistic customers has been truly insightful. The care of our customers is at the centre of everything we do here at Specsavers and we are delighted to have created a better environment for those with autism who visit the store.”
The changes were made under the guidance of Gordon Wallace who is autistic. Mr Wallace said: “I am a spectacles-wearer and I haven’t had much fuss with eye tests, but I can imagine that some autistic people may have problems understanding the process and having an alien device placed on their face, especially those who have never worn glasses before. And, of course, some may not be able to explain to the optician which lens is best."