For many, the weekly trip to the grocery store involves nothing more than pushing a cart through the store as you gather the items you have on your shopping list. You may be sidetracked with new products, samples or visiting with friends, but overall a fairly simple task. For many parents of special needs children that experience sensory overload, due to autism or other neurodevelopmental delays, grocery shopping can be overwhelming.
Keri Meuth, mother of Addison, says that prior to having Caroline’s Carts in local stores, her daughter would have anxiety meltdowns when they went to the grocery store. “The whole thing was overwhelming and she didn’t feel safe. I would put her in the traditional cart and surround her with the groceries in order for her to feel safe, so that I could get my shopping done,” explains Keri. Caroline’s Carts are uniquely designed shopping carts equipped with a rear facing, contoured, comfortable seat, a 5 point latching safety harness to secure the individual, an ample cargo basket and stable brakes that allow easy loading and unloading for the parent or caregiver.
Reach for a Difference received a grant from the Foundation’s discretionary grant cycle that would allow them to provide 8 carts to local retailers. Currently, these specialized carts are in United, Market Street, and H.E.B stores. “This has been a dream come true, and it has made our life easier to be able to include Addison in society. We know that one day she will need to know how to go into stores by herself; these carts allow me to take her with me and allow her to become acquainted with the aisles and where things are located. Thank you for this blessing!” said Keri.
Reach for a Difference is a relatively new agency in town whose goal is to support individual, family and community actions to address identified needs and issues of the autism spectrum and other neurodevelopmental delays in West Texas.