We all need to grocery shop. Going to the grocery store used to be incredibly challenging for me when Ian was small. He would run off, script inappropriately and flap his arms from the over stimulation. With the help of Ian’s teachers at school and on the weekends at home, we worked to make the experience fun and functional.
I started with just getting Ian to walk appropriate through the store. Sounds simple but took tons of practice and a plan for each visit. I practiced this by taking Ian to the store even when I didn’t need to buy groceries. We simply walked around for short periods of time. If he walked appropriately he would get a pre-designated treat. If not, we would leave and come back and try again. Sometimes we would go through several short walks in a day through the store. Ian’s school also practiced walking with him in different settings and rewarding appropriate walking.
For Ian, knowing that he could choose a desired snack or drink motivated him through a grocery store visit. Over time Ian not only requested going to the grocery store with me but became a great helper. He now loads the cart, helps carry the groceries and calmly walks beside me through the aisles without running full tilt for the bathroom or an elevator.
I couldn’t imagine Ian ever being able to shop with me. But the time spent on just walking appropriately paid off not only in teaching Ian an important life skill but has helped me to do an important chore with Ian in tow.
Here is a video of Ian putting the bags in our trunk. I’m so proud of him and love to run errands with him.