I recently finished a course on ‘parenting a child with ASD’. (Yup, person-first language was the least of its faults. ) During one of the sessions, the conversation turned to ‘supermarket meltdowns’. One of the Autism Moms on the course asked how to deal with these, and went on about how embarrassed she was when they happened. (In other words, she made it all about her and her embarrassment).
After several suggestions were made, such as giving him the list to hold, avoiding busy times, wearing ear defenders etc, I made the comment ‘or, you could, you know, just not take him to the supermarket for the large weekly shop.’
You could have heard a pin drop. It was as if I’d suggested something horrific. Finally, the Autism Mom barked ‘ but I need to prepare him for living in the REAL WORLD when he’s an adult.’
Right. I’m an autistic living in the real world as an adult. I detest doing the large weekly supermarket shop. I don’t believe most people actually enjoy it. And, you know what, I am living proof that you can live in the real world AND avoid the supermarket shop. It’s something I figured out years before I realised I was autistic. I do my weekly shop online. Every week for the past nine years. I can shop from the comfort of my sofa, and have my deliveries carried right into my kitchen the very next day. And because I do it so regularly, I avail of a scheme where you can have all the deliveries you want for a small monthly fee. Plus all the loyalty points add up, so between those and special offers, it doesn’t really cost that much. The website remembers previous orders, so I can simply pick from those, or I can take my time browsing the aisles. All while sipping a glass of wine in front of the fire.
Sure, sometimes I make mistakes. Like letting the kids order what they want and not noticing them ordering eleven packs of crisps. Or like last night, when I forgot to do the order till 1am, and got the dates mixed up so my delivery is ordered for tomorrow and I thought it was for today! Or when I don’t look at portion sizes and something that looked like it would feed four in the picture, actually only feeds one.
But, that’s what happens when you live in the real world. Just because it might not be conventional, doesn’t make it any less real.
[image is of a nightmarish vision of a supermarket aisle, the edges purposefully blurred to produce a type of tunnel vision effect. ]