NORFOLK, Va. - April is Autism Awareness Month, and a local grocery chain is making little changes to create a big impact.
All Lidl grocery stores will have sensory-friendly shopping nights on Thursdays after 6 p.m. this month.
One Norfolk store dimmed the lights, turned the sound down on the checkout scanners and completely turned off the music, giving it a more relaxed feel for people with autism who can be sensitive to lights and sounds.
Joshua Behr says he regularly shops at Lidl and immediately noticed a difference when he walked in.
"It feels like there’s fewer people in the store, but there’s just as many people in the store as normal. The lights are down a little bit and apparently the music, the volume is little a bit less," Behr told us. "There’s different ways of learning and different ways of processing information for autistic people on the spectrum and sometimes a loud sound, bright lights can have an impact. It’s disheartening or disturbing for certain populations."
Lidl is also donating 10 cents of every jar they sell of their limited-edition peanut butter to the Autism Society.