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Penrith opticians supports people living with autism

A staff member at Specsavers Penrith has completed a course that will help provide support to customers with autism.

The initiative, which was developed with The National Autistic Society and 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.

Rebecca Davidson, the Penrith store’s optical advisor and ex teaching assistant, has now fully completed the training and will be able to advise other team members and fully support all customer needs. Other team members are also set to complete the training during 2018.

Peter Walker, retail director at Specsavers Penrith, said: “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.

“We are very proud to be involved in supporting The National Autistic Society and hope this training will help make the optical experience easier for people who are living with the condition.”

Rebecca Davidson, optical advisor at Specsavers Penrith, said: “The training has made me more aware of the condition and helped me to recognise and adapt my behaviour accordingly, for example discussing the procedures and timescales of the eye-examination and being aware of individual needs and preferences.”

The National Autistic Society’s business development manager, Sharlene Wright, said: “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 positive experience 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.”

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