Barnes & Noble in Framingham is a community partner dedicated to enhancing the lives of families living with autism in MetroWest. This past Spring they reached out to The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, who then contacted us at The Alliance. We all sat down together and discussed how to make shopping at Barnes & Noble a sensory-friendly experience for families in MetroWest living with autism. The result was their first-ever, private shopping hour back in April. A handful of families attended and truly enjoyed having the store all to themselves. The entrance between Barnes & Noble and the Starbuck's coffee shop was closed off, ensuring that the only entry/exit was the front door. Families explored the store at their own pace and connected with other families in attendance.
There were therapy dogs on-site for visitors that wanted to read to them or snuggle. Employees were all trained on how to be sensory-responsive to families with autism. The Framingham Barnes & Noble store does not have any fluorescent lighting and the music was turned off. The first event was a great success.
Barnes & Noble would like to offer these events to the MetroWest community on a quarterly basis. The next event is scheduled for Saturday, August 25th, from 8:00am - 9:00am, before the store opens to the general public. Therapy dogs from Pets & People Foundation will be on site. Stop by for some back-to-school shopping in a judgement-free environment. No registration needed. We hope to see you there!