What it’s like to take my 3 kids with #Autism to the store

I’m hoping this gives some insight into the everyday challenges of being a special needs parent. Everyone’s experience will be different but many of you will be able to relate, while others will learn what it’s like for the first time.

We had to run a few errands this morning and quite frankly, the boys did really well. That being said, really well for me is likely very different from really well for many other families. 


I feel my kids did really well because I know the challenges they are coping with and what a sensory nightmare it is for them to be in large, crowded stores. The lights, smells, sounds and just about everything else can prove very overwhelming for kids like mine, especially when sensory processing disorder is involved. 

All things considered, they were awesome. ❤️😀👍

That being said, especially in the case of Gavin, I have to mange him very closely. He doesn’t pay attention to the people or things going on around him. To put it plainly, I have to do a great deal of thinking for him.

Read This  Understanding a devastating meltdown from start to finish 

I’d love to hear your experience. What challenges do you face if you have to take your child to the store?

Parking lots are scary because all the boys tend to watch the ground and not their surroundings. 

Gavin has this thing about walking on lines and he pays more attention to that than he does traffic, for example. I constantly have to remind him to pay attention to what’s going on and not the ground. 

When Elliott gets stressed out because something doesn’t go as planned, he goes into these little bouts of anxiety. It’s like a panic attack and when he panics, he starts trying to find things to make himself feel better. It’s a vicious cycle and frankly, I can’t buy him everything he wants, even if I had the money to do so. 

He just wants little tiny characters or knick knacks that don’t have much value but sorta make him feel safer and give him back some control over his world. Unfortunately, that feeling of safety and control is superficial and doesn’t last long. 

Emmett doesn’t do well with any type of deviation from the set plan. Unplanned stops for example, cause him anxiety. 

Read This  How Autism related meltdowns impact me as a parent, and how I cope

We had several unplanned stops because Gavin had to use the bathroom and that created some anxiety.

All of these issues were present today, just like every single time we go somewhere but the kids handled themselves well and we were able to get done what needed to be done. 

I should also point out that I do get compliments from people all the time about how polite my kids are as well. That feels good to hear.. 

If the average person without any experience with Autism, ADHD or anxiety were to take my kids out, they would definitely have their hands full. That said, I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s become second nature.

I’ve learned to limit things that are problematic or avoid them all together. I have this internal checklist that helps me to remember the things that the boys need to be reminded of. It makes managing them while we’re out and about, just a little bit easier. 

I’d love to hear your experience. What challenges do you face if you have to take your child to the store?