Walmart, one of the world’s biggest retailers, got a shout out this week from the Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Joseph H. Vicari for showing its sensitivity to individuals with sensory disabilities, autism and sensory processing disorders.
“Walmart has expressed a deep interest to be inclusive when it announced that it would dim store lights weekly to provide sensory-friendly shopping hours,” Vicari said. “I want to commend Walmart stores and the staff for doing this.”
According to Walmart, in an attempt to create a more inclusive shopping experience during the back-to-school season, the retailer is holding sensory-friendly hours. The sensory-friendly hours will allow customers who have sensory disabilities, autism and sensory processing disorders the ability to shop in a quieter environment.
Local Walmarts are offering this service from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturdays through August.
Vicari said he would like to see more businesses follow this example.
“I am aware of some local restaurants that have begun to do this also,” Vicari said.
He noted that the Ocean County Library system offers patrons sensory spaces at two of its branches – the main branch on Washington Street in Toms River, and the Jackson Township branch on Jackson Drive in Jackson Township.
Vicari, who is liaison to the library system, said the new Stafford Township branch of the Ocean County Library also will have a sensory room.
“This is an innovative approach to helping our citizens with autism and other challenges,” Vicari said. “The library sensory rooms serve as a centerpiece of our efforts to be all inclusive in the programs and services we provide at the library.
“If we can provide a feeling of calm and well-being to our patrons, than we have helped make a true difference for them,” he said.