A LOCAL supermarket is making a huge effort to ensure it is autism inclusive.

Over the past 18 months, Tesco Askham Bar has been implementing strategies from the Living Autism course, funded by City of York Council (CYC), to make positive changes which will benefit both staff and customers.

Ronnie Pinder, an autistic Tesco employee diagnosed in adulthood, was one of the first people from the store to become an autism champion and attend the course, followed by two of the store's managers.

They have been rolling out autism awareness training, with the aim of having a manager on each shift with knowledge of the condition.

Changes have been made to staff recruitment and in-house support, including making a room available for employees in need of a quiet space.

One of the managers, Lisa Ingham, said: "Now we have a better understanding, we can make reasonable adjustments.

"These adjustments are often small, but make all the difference, such as keeping shift patterns the same or reducing unnecessary change or transitions.

"We can confidently say our autistic staff are hard-working, focused and have excellent attention to detail.

"Some choose to work on the tills, others in different parts of the store. Every person has different skills."

Other York establishments that have attended the course include Yorkshire Museums Trust and York Archaeological Trust.

Along with Tesco, they have earned Autism Inclusive badges through the CYC All-age Autism Strategy.

Living Autism managing director Manar Matusiak said: "We have been impressed and delighted at the enthusiasm and commitment of those who have attended our autism champions courses to cascade learning and make adjustments.

"York is working towards becoming more autism inclusive, both for residents and visitors, and we are pleased to be a part of that."

The next course is in September 2018. For more details see autismconference.co.uk.

For more information about local group Living Autism visit https://livingautism.com/.