Tesco has launched trials of a ‘quiet hour’ to help shoppers with autism.

A 10-week scheme at its Crawley Extra store has been introduced after the store was contacted by Jo-Ann D’Costa Manuel, parent of an eight-year-old autistic child, who runs the group Autism Parent Empower.

The first of the events ran on Saturday, during which time staff took various measures including leaving all entrances open, placing quiet signs around the store, turning off music and having no tannoy announcements.

During the quiet hour there was also no packing of shelves, the lights in the store were dimmed and escalators turned off.

A recent survey by the National Autistic Society highlighted 75% of parents in the UK feel most isolated in supermarkets due to lack of understanding and sensory discomforts.

“Tesco shopping was always an impossible experience for us due to the sensory overload and lack of public awareness. With lots of visits, strategies and support we now can enjoy our weekly shopping trip with ease,” said D’Costa Manuel.

A Tesco spokesman added: “We are always looking for new ways to make the shopping experience easier for our customers so we’re delighted to support Autism Parent Empower on this initiative. We enjoyed welcoming families to our Crawley Extra store and helping them with their shopping.”

Asda trialled a similar ‘quiet hour’ at a Manchester store last year to help autistic and disabled shoppers.

Other recent moves by supermarkets include Sainsbury’s running ‘slow shopping’, to help elderly customers and those with disabilities, while Tesco ran a trial in Scotland last week to introduce a ‘relaxed lane’ for less able customers.