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Asda Introduces Visual Shopping List for Children on the Autism Spectrum

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Asda, a U.K. based supermarket chain, has introduced an interactive shopping list for children on the autism spectrum to use while their parents shop. The list, titled “Happy Little Helpers,” lets kids help out during shopping trips in a visually engaging way. 

The shopping list is made up of pictures of common food items as well as velcro to stick each picture under a “what we need” column. Kids can then put a smiley face next to each product as it is found in the store.

The idea came from Jenny Barnett, an Asda employee whose son, Charlie, is on the spectrum and is nonverbal. The project, she said, was inspired by Charlie’s teachers, who use symbols and pictures to help him communicate.

The Happy Little helpers scheme, which encourages young children to get involved with shopping, is being introduced into Asda stores next week. This picture shows Asda colleague Jenny Barnett who came up with the idea of the list with her five-year-old son Charlie

“When he was younger, Charlie used to throw himself to the floor when he was in a big shop. It was clearly too noisy and too crowded for him,” Barnett told Metro. “By creating the shopping list, it takes the pressure away and helps children concentrate on a task which in turn reduces stress.”

After a successful run at its Middlesbrough store, Asda will provide lists to more than 300 other locations across the UK.

“It’s such a nice feeling that I can walk into an Asda miles away from Middlesbrough and see another child benefitting from my idea,” Barnett said. “It’s going to help so many children which is great.”

This isn’t the first initiative from Asda to help make shopping better for people on the spectrum. It has incorporated a quiet hour into at least one of its stores. Asda also features inclusive bathroom signs, highlighting invisible illnesses.

Photos via Asda

Originally published: September 13, 2017
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