Walmart will make a major change in its US stores this week to accommodate shoppers with special needs. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer will offer sensory-friendly hours seven days a week starting on November 10th.

These special hours will happen between 8 am and 10 am.

Among the changes:

  • Lights will be lowered to create a more relaxing shopping atmosphere.
  • TV walls will be changed to static images.
  • WalmartRadio which plays inside stores will be turned off.

In a blog posted early on Tuesday, company leadership said they received overwhelmingly positive feedback after making adjustments in stores during back-to-school shopping.

Earlier this year, we took a step in making shopping in our stores more inclusive for those with sensory disabilities by taking measures to create a less stimulating environment for a couple hours each Saturday. During the back-to-school season, we changed the TV walls to a static image, turned off the radio and lowered the lights where possible. The feedback of the pilot program was overwhelmingly positive. These changes may have seemed small to some, but for others they transformed the shopping experience. Our biggest piece of feedback? Keep it going!

According to CNN, the changes will not be put into place at Sam's Club locations.

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What Causes Sensory Issues?

Certain medical conditions can cause sensory issues in children and adults. Autism spectrum disorders might lead to hypersensitivity to sounds, lights, or textures. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can also contribute to sensory challenges, affecting focus and behavior. According to the American Medical Association, sensory processing disorder (SPD) can result in over- or under-responsiveness to stimuli, impacting daily life and activities such as shopping.

Other conditions like epilepsy, migraines, and certain genetic disorders can cause sensory disturbances too, affecting vision, hearing, or touch. Seeking support from healthcare providers can help manage these challenges and improve quality of life.

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