Yesterday I took The Boy to Tesco. On a Saturday. AMATEUR. In my defence, I had become heavily reliant on the fridge to get me through the joy that was half-term, supplies were low.
I could write pages and pages on the delights of supermarket shopping with an autistic child, but I'll just say this... Supermarkets are designed purposefully to bombard the senses to make us buy more - smells, colours, lights, sounds, the lot. For many sufferers of autism, this attack on an already overloaded system is too much. So, the next time you tut at the screaming toddler in the middle of the vegetable aisle, or wonder what the strange teenager flapping his hands and making repetitive noises is doing by the freezers, try to show some compassion. Supermarkets are horrific places for all mankind. Some of us have different coping methods, that's all.
Public service announcement over, back to the story...
We made it to the end of the shop. The 9 pre-agreed items from earlier in the day had been selected and ticked off the list (no more, no less. Even BOGOFs cannot be used if it takes you over the pre-agreed quota). Then disaster. The Boy LOVES the self-service checkouts. Hated the world over, but loved by him. The lack of contact with a single human being makes them perfect. Going to the human being tills causes problems. Strange human beings, some talk to you, some don't. Some smile, some don't. Some give you a bag, some don't. The self-service checkout does the same thing every time. And even if there is an unidentified item in the bagging area, it doesn't raise its voice or get angrier, it just repeats itself, over and over, in the same consistent voice. The boy will scan away to his heart's content, reassured that he's just one step away from a "please insert your card into the chip and pin device..." or "please scan your Clubcard"...
Except yesterday, all the self-service checkouts were out of order. Kaput. Less than twenty foot away was a human being till, we could just go there instead, it wouldn't be that much of a problem would it, come on mate, it's only a little queue, you don't have to stand too close to them, Dad really wants this four pack of Peroni that he's waited all week for...
We had Dominos for tea. I'll go tomorrow when he's back at school.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.