Over the most recent holiday break I shared my experience of using an “accessible cart”.
1. I’d never heard of these glorious hunks of metal.
2. I wasn’t aware our community offered these carts up until recently.
Anyone whom experiences sensory issues or anxiety typically can tell you holidays tend to increase chances of meltdowns and overstimulation. Changes in routines, schedules, and expectations are thrown at you.
Holidays seem to be difficult for everyone. More-so, I’d say for individuals with extraordinary needs or (ASD).
Changes in routine are difficult, making daily tasks more challenging then usual.
I can recall this day so vividly:
We’ve been up since 5:30 AM.
Meltdowns, stimming and yelling are constant. Last-night was a “transition day”. (Changing of “dad’s home” to “mom’s home”.
What this means for Hank: Different rules, different expectations, different styles of parenting. All out of my control. We do the best we can with a difficult situation.
Something I’ve been dreading, a task that is less then ideal with a child whom experiences sensory processing disorder.
I take a LONG-deep-breath and think, a change of scenery might be something we both need.
I recall looking at the clock and the time is 2 P.M. We need groceries……necessities.
I remembered a friend sent me a photo of an accessible cart at Metro. She stumbled upon it during one her shopping trips and thought of us.
(Isn’t it great when you have friends who think of you and ways to support you, by sharing great news!?!)
The day hadn’t been the easiest thus far, so I was willing to take any opportunity making a difficult task less stressful.
We arrived. Cart was there. Now the test begins……..
Best shopping experience with my son in a VERY long time.
In that moment, I was speechless. He jumped in the accessible-cart and tried to buckle himself in! Yeah, you read that right. Tried to buckle himself in!
He was happier then a clam to watch his ipad, safe in the secure harness.
His eyes were searching everywhere. I’d never seen him looking around so much.
He looked straight at me, doing his very best to say “Christmas tree mommy” which sounded more like “hiss-niss tee nonny” pointing to the row of Christmas trees attached to the wall of the produce section.
My heart exploded with pride, he was talking! In public! All the meltdowns and morning stress faded away. I was so happy in that moment.
I barely noticed the stares. There are always stares, I’ve accepted it, we are different. We stand out.
My boy is 6 years old now, a little man. Much too big for regular carts and nubby sippy cups you see. People are curious.
Generally, people don’t understand our struggles unless they live it.
Possibly because they don’t see a disability? Not all disabilities are visible you see.
Either way, in that moment I didn’t care.
I’m less “bothered” then I have been in the past. Likely, just experience and learning to enjoy the positive moments not allowing others to spoil a great moment for us.
The Town of Greater Napanee has many businesses with accessible carts.
Jamie & Jacklyn’s No Frills,
The Lennox & Addington County Autism Network is thankful that acceptance and awareness is on the rise in our community.