LOCAL businesses can help to make the UK more autism-friendly by taking part in the UK's first Autism Hour.

The inaugural event, organised by The National Autistic Society, will see shops and services across the UK dim their lights, turn down music and share information about autism for 60 minutes on the week October 2.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive at the National Autism Society, said: "Like anyone, autistic people and their families want the opportunity to go to the shops and services on the high street. But our research suggests that many find the often busy, loud and unpredictable environment of public places overwhelming and avoid them together.

"A basic understanding of autism could transform the lives of autistic people and their families and avoid them becoming isolated or trapped in their homes. I hope businesses in PLACE will take part and help to make the local area more autism-friendly."

The National Autistic Society is asking shops and services to take simple steps for one hour to help create more autism friendly world - from dimming the lights and turning down music to sharing information about autism with employees.

Local organisations can sign-up for Autism Hour and download a free information pack by visiting autism.org.uk/get-involved/tmi/autism-hour.aspx.