Going shopping with kids can be a chore for any parent but if your child has autism a “simple" trip to the supermarket needs some planning! For one thing a child with autism often has pronounced sensory issues which can be expressed as either an extreme overreaction to sensory stimulation or an extreme under reaction to sensory stimulation.

The first story I wrote was "Tony goes shopping" as it’s very often something that parents look for help with. Through lots of trial and error, I found that distraction and staying busy in the supermarket helped a lot, especially for children who get overstimulated easily. I put these techniques into a story which I think will appeal to both parent and child. I wanted the story to help parents to realise shopping trips can be done if preparation is done. This holds true with lots of activities for children with autism.

Preparation is key

I know with my job preparation is key. Have a day plan and a First and Then chart along with your little shopping list. Prepare some games and distractions in advance: "I Spy", always reliable, or counting as it provides a sense of order. I have found counting games work well in many situations. Playing games in the shop distracts Tony and it becomes an enjoyable experience.

Shopping can be an enjoyable learning experience instead of something to fear!!

Do you have any more ideas or tips that you have found useful for shopping trips? I'd love to hear your techniques in the comments below, or any questions, please ask here.