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So, I took my 11 year old to Walmart

Posted by on May. 28, 2012 at 5:12 PM
  • 15 Replies

Not the first time weve been to walmart or any store.  Didnt want you to think I didnt take my kids anywhere.  But since it was just me and him I really paid attention to him.  My main thing is hes getting he going to be able to live on his own...and if not, can he function on his own.  Not in Walmart he cant!  He was spinning the cart around, stopping the cart in the middle of the aisle, driving into people, not being curteous to move to the side for people.  Then he was walking beside of me and I stopped at a display and he just kept walking.  Kept walking.  I was watching him the whole time.  He was in a daze, just wandering around.  And I was watching.  Never left my eyesight.  Then about 5 minutes later he turns around and says: mommy, mommy, where are you mommy?  Mommy?  And he starts walking in circles.  And his face gets red and he just keeps saying: Mommy?  I dont move but I say:  Im right here, here I am. And he just spins, looking.  
Oh...this doesnt look good!  :I

by on May. 28, 2012 at 5:12 PM
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by Emma on May. 28, 2012 at 5:17 PM
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give him some time - you'd need to set rules boundaries and expectations of behavior not just walk him blind into a new situation.

i'm an adult, who's fairly functional and I can barely function in walmart - and when I was younger, 18-22 ish I'd still wander around for hours in a store lost.... 

I had to learn to set rules and boundaries for myself and my husband would text me to make sure I didn't lose track of time and that I remembered why I was at the store.

I'd make a list. I'd go in. I'd get my stuff, I'd pay. I'd leave.

My son would do the same things if we didn't prep him before going into a store, or a new environment.

by on May. 28, 2012 at 5:25 PM
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I'll echo what kajira is saying. Walking a child with autism into a store unprepared is setting him up for failure. Heck, I can't walk into a new store without getting aclaimated to it first. I have to wander and touch things and take in all the new stuff. Like kajira, I either have to have set boundaries for myself and make sure someone is texting me to keep me on track, or have someone with me to make sure I do what I was there to do. 

by on May. 28, 2012 at 5:30 PM
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You may want to consider making it a point to take him to a large store like that, just you and him, once a week or so. 

When I take my kids places, even places they know well, we talk first about what to expect, how to behave, etc. I remind them about bright lights, loud noises, loud people, and anything else I can think of to prepare them. It helps them a lot to know what they are walking into. Then I keep them close (within arms reach) and we talk about what they like and don't like about the store. I even do this with my 3 year old. I just tailor the conversation to words he can understand.

It may help you to try that and it may help him gain the skills and confidence. He's only 11, there's still time.

by on May. 28, 2012 at 5:42 PM

wow so sorry that it wasnt a good experience but this is why i try to take johny once a week to a punblic place to get him accustome not sure if its working yet

by on May. 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM
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I wouldn't judge his future independence on a trip to walmart.  He's still kind of young and has time and may surprise you in the next couple of years.  I still get frazzled in there especially on a weekend :)  I like to shop so my son goes a lot and if he is buying something with his own money I like for him to pay on his own with me standing by just so he can get the experience.   The first few times he needed help, but now he's a pro!  He has even corrected the cashier when something I am buying is on sale and the price is wrong at the register.  lol 

by on May. 28, 2012 at 10:03 PM

I agree with everyone else.  He  will be okay.  You did good just standing back and watching.  Now you know that you're going to have to develop a plan to help him when he does get older.   

On a side note just talking about Walmart, I took my 5 year old  about 2 weeks ago, and we usually give him french fries and a drink at Walmart (popcorn at Target) to keep him in the cart.  He spilled his drink in the cart so I pulled him out and was cleaning it up.  Next thing I knew, we was in the middle of the store where a pool was set up filled with big plastic bouncy balls.  He jumped right in it and began swimming with the balls.  I didn't get mad - I let him go .  He was enjoying it so much and I know it was good for him.  I didn't care what people thought about it either.  My thought is if you don't want anyone in there, then don't fill a pool with balls.  Anyway just thought we could all use a laugh!!!  Hugs!

by on May. 28, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Remember many of our kids mature at a much slower rate, so while he may be chronologically 11, he my be much younger in maturity. Just keep helping him and pointing out the appropriate behavior. Who knows where he will be in a couple of years.
I am hopeful about my boys, but sometimes the future scares me too!
by on May. 29, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Like the other moms have suggested, I would continue taking him to stores and setting boundaries with him.  The more exposure and direction he has, the more he will learn how to adapt in those situations.  ((hugs))

by Wendy on May. 29, 2012 at 9:40 AM

that mustve been hard but you gotta think about it hess 11 hes probably developmentally younger then his real age. give him some time hun  and definitely more practice! 

by on May. 29, 2012 at 11:52 AM
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I actully think you taking him and just observing was a great idea.  Now I would take what you have learned from the observation and start a conversation about what to do and what not to do.  You can prep him for things to expect for future trips.  You can stay a way from things he did not like. 

Keep at it and before you know it, it will be a piece of cake to go shopping.  You might even see that positive energey spill over into other things as well.

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