,By Angie Willey
Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month, day 19! We are celebrating by posting information about Down syndrome each day in October, during the 31 for 21 challenge. Feel free to share these posts to help spread awareness and acceptance.
I can't shop with my child!
The question of how families, especially single parents, can go out and shop with their young child who has Down syndrome is one we hear quite often. Some children with Down syndrome tend to be runners, which can make going out and about in public and pulling your attention to anything but them for even a second, a scary situation.
As the mother of an 8 year old boy with Down syndrome, I live this every time I go to the store. It was always so convenient to put him in the seat of the cart, until he started getting too big for it. Then we moved to the dual seat carts with shoulder straps…until he learned how to unsnap the harness. Eventually we realized that we need to teach him now to act in the store and let him practice every time we go. The day is quickly coming where he will no longer fit in a cart, and we need to be prepared. So we practice. Some trips are better than others. Occasionally he makes it around the entire store and never has to get in the cart. But other times he is in the cart (time out) before we hit the first aisle.
But let’s face it. There are occasions where we need to make a quick trip in and out, and there is just not time for us to practice. Here in Nebraska we are lucky to have Caroline’s Carts available in a few stores. In Lincoln, they can be found at two HyVee’s, two Target stores, and Fresh Thyme Market. In Omaha they are available at even more stores. These carts are designed with a larger seat to help parents of children with disabilities shop confidently knowing that their children are safe. For a complete listing of all the stores in Nebraska that offer a Caroline’s Cart, click here.
Have you tried using one of the Caroline’s Cart? If so let us know what your think!
Ultimately we do want our kids to be able to walk with us in a store. Keep practicing, reward good behavior and keep advocating, and use the resources avaialabe to you for those times when you need it!
Down Syndrome Advocates in Action Nebraska, is a group for parents run by parents.