September 22, 2018

Dutch supermarket experiments with quiet hour

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 8:08 pm


The Albert Heijn supermarket in Sint-Michielsgestel, Noord-Brabant is going to hold a quiet hour next Tuesday morning between 8 and 9 am to the benefit of autistic people and anyone who cannot handle the level of noise in a typical supermarket. The lights will also be turned down.

There won’t be any cash register noises, calls on the intercom or any kind of noise other people don’t really notice. However, too bad it is during the work week, as these folks are not at work and come from an institution, but then again I imagine it was tough to find an appropriate time.

Cashiers will ask less questions (we get asked for our ‘bonus card’ [loyalty card] or if we collect stamps, and keep it much simpler – not a bad idea for all of us. The entire idea was copied from the UK that apparently already does this, according to the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Autisme (‘Dutch Association for Autism’). Besides noise, supermarket staff will also make sure that pallets aren’t blocking the aisles – typically Dutch supermarkets fill the shelves when the store is open, not before of after like in other countries – and will make sure personnel don’t creep up on folks unexpectedly.

It seems to me I would love quiet hour and I’m sure a lot of you would, too.

(Link:, Photo of Albert Heijn bag by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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July 21, 2018

Van Gogh house can stay for autistic son

Filed under: Art,General,Health by Orangemaster @ 1:40 pm

A couple in Florida has painted the outside of their entire house as a huge mural of Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ for their autistic son, and has just just won an almost year-long battle with the city to keep it that way.

The commissioned painting works as a beacon for their adult son who has problems communicating and occasionally wanders away from home. By making their house a landmark, which their son refers to as T’he Starry Night house’, he can tell people which house he’s talking about when he gets lost and people will know where it is.

When the mural was started, the city told them it was considered graffiti if the wall didn’t match the house, so they went the whole hog and painted the entire outside of the house. Then, they got fined 10,000 USD (about 8,528 euro) for doing so. While the city said the house was a distraction and improper, the coupled expressed their constitutional right to free expression and won.

Parents are ready to fight for their children under normal circumstances, but if your kid also has a developmental disorder like autism, you’re probably going to fight anybody who tries to make your life more difficult. The city gave the family $15,000 USD (about 12,793 euro) and an apology, which was a big deal for this family who grew up in socialist Poland.

(Link and photo:

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February 3, 2009

Dutch film theatre to cater to autistic audience

Filed under: Dutch first,Film by Orangemaster @ 9:44 am

Amsterdam film theatre De Uitkijk is planning to develop special screenings for autistic people, as a way of reaching a new film-going audience.

What’s the difference? Less stimuli, which, if I may, would be less ups and downs in the film as regards the volume and the bass will be toned down to avoid vibrations, which frankly they should do in every film theatre. And getting rid of subtitles, which are distracting and plentiful since many films are in English or another European language, are an issue. Warning people about the amount of advertising and trailers is also an idea. Sounds to me like the average person could enjoy this too, not just an autistic audience.

De Uitkijk is working together with the Universiteit van Amsterdam and the Dutch Association for autism. The UK already has autism friendly screenings, and so for De Uitkijk this would be a Dutch first. The first test screening for children will be on 23 February. I wonder if they also plan to have screening for adults.


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