Figures from the Business Disability Forum show that at least one in three customers in the UK is either disabled or close to someone who has a disability. Disabled customers have a spending power of around £212bn a year.
Ambitious about Autism chief executive Jolanta Lasota said increased awareness for smaller shop owners is so important for those with autism: "One in a hundred people in the UK have autism, so it is crucial that institutions such as local shops have understanding and awareness. The noise, crowds and bright lights found in large supermarkets and shopping centres can be an intimidating and imposing experience for those with autism, meaning local shops are often the preferred place to go for regular shopping.
"As mentioned in the guide, being attentive, encouraging and patient will go a long way to accommodating those with autism. However, it is important to remember not to be patronising - many people with autism lead independent lives and will only sometimes need a little extra guidance.
"We are delighted to see learning disabilities being addressed in this guide and hope it goes a long way to encourage independence for those with autism and other less visible disabilities."