Mom Petitions Target and Large Retailers to Add Sensory-Friendly Checkout Lanes


Kristen Jackowski wants to make shopping easier for families with sensory sensitivities. Jackowski’s 5-year-old daughter, NavyAnna, is on the autism spectrum and is often overwhelmed by the candy displayed in checkout lanes. Now Jackowski, through a Change.org petition, is asking big retailers like Target to create sensory-friendly shopping lanes that replace sweets with sensory-friendly toys and other items.

This simple change could potentially help lots of parents whose children have either sensory processing disorders or food allergies. “Once the candy, chocolate, and other snacks are within arm’s reach, the meltdown is inevitable,” Jackowski wrote in her Change.org petition. “We have also encountered judgment from other customers and employees who are ignorant to these issues in that they lack education and sensitivity training. The stares, comments, and eye rolls of disgust I could do without because the situation is already hard enough.”

Jackowski’s petition has been signed by more than 1,000 people and has caught the eye of major retailers, including Target. According to CBS Philly, Jackowski’s petition has made it all the way to Target’s corporate headquarters. It’s also caught the attention of her local Shop Rite in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania.

While Target told Philly Mag that making the changes recommended by Jackowski would take lots of planning and design changes, Paul Kourtis, the store director at the Brookhaven ShopRite, was able to implement a sensory-friendly check-out lane in just days. “I just merchandized the aisle correctly with sensory-friendly objects. No candy whatsoever,” Kourtis told the magazine. “It was easy to do. We’re happy to do it. I have 18 checkouts at the store. If I lose one for a good cause, that’s perfectly OK.” The Brookhaven ShopRite also plans to provide sensory-friendly training to store employees.

Jackowski has met with her local Target, whose staff said they can’t make changes without the approval of Target’s corporate office. She remains optimistic. “Since I am a dog with a bone I will be pushing this further,” she wrote. “I see a very simple solution to an issue plaguing my family and other like us. Just a few simple in store changes can be monumental! Let’s make the world a little better, more inclusive and help people understand!”

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Jessica Sylfest’s son, Grayson

To My Son’s Kindergarten Class, From the Mom of a Boy on the Autism Spectrum

Hi, guys! Welcome to 4K! You are so adorable in your Spider-Man backpacks and sparkly Elsa dresses! I just know that you are going to have an amazing year exploring your beautiful new school and expanding your brains. This year marks the first year of 13 that you and many of your classmates will spend [...]
school boy with a backpack

When My Son With Autism Had to Adjust to a New School After a Move

Change is hard. Change is hard good. Change is good. This is my incessant mantra this week. These past few weeks have been beautiful and tough. Our family recently moved and unknowingly crossed that magical line dividing two counties, and everything has changed. Change is hard.  We have a different address. Different utilities. Different commute. [...]
man looking at river

When I Connected With Others Who Were Diagnosed With Autism as Adults

What’s it like when an adult is diagnosed on the autism spectrum?   If you’re like me, it was likely a difficult journey reaching this point, one filled with confusion, hurt and a pervasive sense of loneliness. Parents may be gone. Family or friends may have pushed for a diagnosis or have done their best to prevent it. [...]

Mom Receives Nasty Note About Autistic Son's Behavior in Supermarket

Brittany Miller’s son, Granderson, loves fire alarms. The 6-year-old on the autism spectrum knows everything there is to know about fire alarms, from the model of the alarm down to the noise it makes. During a routine trip to the local supermarket in North Muskegon, Michigan, Granderson did what he does best, showing off his knowledge of the grocery [...]