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Pushing a Grocery Cart Was a Confidence-Booster for My Daughter With a Disability

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While on a trip to the store, my daughter Namine got a boost of self-confidence.

Our local Pick ‘N Save has little shopping carts. They have long poles attached, with a little flag at the top that says something like, “Little Shopper in Training.” They’re a little wobbly, but other than that, they’re perfect for introducing your child to pushing a shopping cart.

And as Namine found out, they’re also perfect for teaching one-handed wheelchair control.

When we got into the store, Namine saw the little carts and wanted to push one. Thinking she’d have too hard of a time I said, “No, she’ll need both hands to wheel.”

My wife Jessica responded, “Why don’t you push her wheelchair, and she can push the cart?” In other words, stop being a party pooper.


I swear I’m not usually a killjoy — and I like to think I encourage Namine to do as much as she can on her own — but I guess I was really determined to make a fool of myself this time. Jessica reminded me sometimes we need to help out, and that’s an important lesson too: it’s OK to ask for help. Sometimes, as it was in this case, it’s that very help that will inspire going further on your own.

So I extended Namine’s wheelchair handles and pushed her, while she pushed the cart. It took her a little bit to get used to the way it handled. I mentioned it was top-heavy; there were a few times where Namine almost tipped it over, but she recovered nicely and it never spilled.

After a while, Namine decided she’d had enough of being pushed around. She was determined to wheel herself and push the cart. And she did just that. The turns were the hardest, but Namine kept up with us even with a cart full of macaroni and cheese (white cheddar and shells, her favorite).

I think it’s pretty cool Pick ‘N Save has these little carts for little shoppers. It was just a happy coincidence they’re just the right height for Namine in her wheelchair, but being able to wheel herself and push her own cart full of groceries was a great opportunity in problem solving, and a fantastic confidence-booster.

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Originally published: August 7, 2017
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