Grocery Store Offers Autism-Friendly Checkout Lane
Grocery shopping can be tough when you're a parent and have to take your kids along, but it can be even more stressful when you're the parent of a child with autism. But there's good news- things might start getting a little easier, thanks to the effort of one grocery store.
A supermarket in Pennsylvania is receiving praised from the autism community after they designed a special autism-friendly checkout lane. The store removed the candy and magazine display from the checkout area and replaced it with a sensory-friendly display that includes things like Silly Putty, Play-Doh, and rattles, which are all things used by occupational therapists to help kids with autism who have sensory processing disorders.
The reason the Philadelphia store made the switch was because heard about a petition started by Kristin Jackowski, whose five-year-old daughter has autism. Shopping was an awful experience for Jackowiski's daughter who would have meltdowns when she'd spot candy at the checkout and her tantrums would scare other shoppers.
In a quest to save her daughter from tantrums and to help make the shopping experience more enjoyable for others, Jackowiski started a petition on Change.org asking stores to create one lane that would be friendly to her daughter and others with autism. Instead of candy, she requested the lane have a sensory-friendly display. Shop Rite has been the only store to respond so far.
Jackowski told Philadelphia Magazines, "People think I’m talking about a temper tantrum. What I’m talking about is much worse than that."
Shop Rite store owner, Pat Burns, also spoke with Philadelphia Magazine, saying, "Even if you don’t have a child who is autistic, everybody knows a child who is. People think it’s a great idea. Anything to provide our customers with a safe and friendly shopping experience, I say let’s do it."