Senior Journalist / News Presenter,
Ten Eyewitness News.
"The "Lets Go Shopping" App revolutionises the often daunting supermarket experience for autistic children. Using bright colours, interactive sounds and by turning grocery shopping into a game, the App seeks to normalise a chore many of us accept as just a normal part of daily life.
But for many children, these huge, busy, loud and over-stimulating supermarkets can be terrifying. I have witnessed an autistic child break down in a supermarket aisle, crippled with fear.
Anything we can do to appeal to these kids and make grocery shopping less scary and overwhelming, can be nothing but beneficial for both the child and their family. I'm so proud to be involved with this new tool."
"Let’s go shopping is a delightful app with a real shopping-sounds experience, complete with Australian accents, supermarket background noise and real time trolley sounds. It is a well structured, calming process of selecting shopping items and going to the checkout.
In working with groups of preschool children with Autism, they loved the app. It was a great game for turn taking with a well defined end of shopping-list, and a checkout that the children could independently complete and then give the iPad to the next person. It also involved great teamwork in finding some items that we “missed”, and it was easy to move forward and back in the game.
No high stakes losses, so emotions were well regulated and a sense of calm was maintained."
"Let's Go Shopping! is a terrific app for preparing children with autism to cope with the sensory overload of shopping in a supermarket. Children will enjoy pushing their trolley around the supermarket and filling it with the items from their shopping list. The background noises provided in the app are a unique feature of this app.
Children can adjust the volume to gradually feel comfortable with the noises associated with shopping. This app provides a fun and positive experience of shopping. The app can be used to "prime" or prepare a child for a potentially stressful event in a safe and motivating environment. The child can adjust the level of background noise and sound effects. This means that they can move at their own pace to gradually feel comfortable with these sounds.
The authentic learning experience is one of the unique features of this app. The child is actively involved in moving the trolley and selecting the items. If correct - the items pops into your trolley. If incorrect the child reads "Nice try, try again". The lovely animation will make this a very enjoyable shopping experience for young children. The child also receives a star when they complete each level."
Downloaded this game for my 4 year old and he loves the game.
I like that it is safe and educational. very Cool characters.
Great work on your app, and my 3yo is having fun with it!
My 4yo can't put this game down! Plus it teaches them about shopping, and keeps them entertained in the supermarket as well!
Lets Go Shopping is proudly supported by
Lee A. Wilkinson
PhD Psychologist, Award Winning Author, Speaker & Consultant
Australian Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder get a leg up at the supermarket.
A trip to the supermarket, especially around the weeks leading up to Christmas, can be sensory overload for many and unbearable for some.
The Christmas jingles blaring over the speakers, the hustle and bustle of shoppers clambering through the isles, and the barrage of brightly coloured sale stickers demanding your attention at every turn. It’s almost maddening just thinking about it. But despite it all, we trudge through. With our trollies filled to bursting we make our way through the cacophony and the crowds relatively carefree.
Well, most of us do anyway. Not every Australian has it so easy. For those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) a trip to the supermarket can be anything but carefree. The sights, sounds and commotion that we don’t even bat an eyelid to can be deeply stressing for someone with ASD, especially for children.
They can find it difficult to understand the barrage of audio and visual stimuli and become too overwhelmed. Not only does this put enormous amounts of stress on the child but on their families too as it can greatly restrict the kinds of places and activities these families can go to.
So what, do we prevent 1 in 100 Aussie kids diagnosed with Autism (almost 230,000 Australians) from even stepping foot into supermarkets? Should they grow up never knowing what it’s like to sit in their parent’s shopping trolley and marvel at the endless selection of lollies and chocolate that wizz by? Should they have to grow up different?
Coles supermarkets in conjunction with Autism Spectrum Australia answered these questions with a resounding no on Friday the 11th of August 2017 as they officially announced ‘Quiet Hour’, a pilot program that seeks to make the shopping experience for children living with ASD not only tolerable, but fun! It takes place every Tuesday from 10:30am to 11:30am at Coles at Ringwood and Balwyn East.
As Autism Spectrum Australia states on their website: “Quiet Hour offers customers a low sensory shopping experience by making small changes to the store.”
These changes include:
- Reducing the radio to lowest volume
- Dimming the lights by half
- Turn down register and scanner volumes to the lowest level
- Removing roll cages from shop floor
- Avoiding trolley collections
- Avoid PA announcements (excluding in the event of emergencies)
- Offering free fruit to customers
- Having trained team members available to assist customers
The launch of the program was met with resounding fanfare from Victorian families and Australia as a whole, even bringing one Melbourne mum fighting back tears as she was able to fill a trolley with her son, Lachlan after facing such difficulties from previous supermarket trips.
The positive reception and the fact that an organisation like Coles would be willing to launch such social responsibility is truely inspiring and shows just how far we’ve all come as a nation in battling the stigma and mystery that once shrouded ASD.
But is that all that can be done for those living with Autism? Should it? The Quiet Hour program offers a great way for children with ASD to go grocery shopping but it is only a bandaid fix on an issue that will still need addressing. The program only temporarily masks the issue, stalling it for a brief moment but as soon as 11:30am hits, the noise, the bright lights and the hustle and bustle return to Coles Ringwood and Balwyn East.
There needs to be something that can tackle the root cause. To build up Aussie kids with ASD with the skills to take these challenges head on. To facilitate their learning and growth for situations where there isn’t a ‘Quite Hour’. To help them grow up and experience life and not be left wondering why they grew up avoiding stores and busy areas. There has to be something out there.
Candice Taylor, an Aussie mum and her 11-year-old son who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3, took up the task of making sure that there was something. That ‘something’ turned out to be an app. Through their trials and tribulations, their journey together lead to the creation of the Let’s Go Shopping App.
Available for iOS and Android, the Let’s go Shopping app seeks to help children with ASD build fundamental skills to help them deal with such overwhelming situations as shopping, in a fun and enjoyable way. According to Candice the app “…has been designed to encourage children on the spectrum to explore and integrate themselves into a supermarket environment at their own pace, whilst making sense of their own thoughts and feelings.”
A big emphasis has been placed on personal development and growth. Let’s Go Shopping allows children on the spectrum to familiarise themselves with sights and sounds that are typically encountered while at the supermarket. They are also introduced to spelling with the names of each item displayed, and a dedicated sounds page giving children complete control.
With over 40,000 downloads worldwide, Let’s Go Shopping has been able to help families around the world tackle grocery shopping with great success. But the hardest part for Candice is that there are still so many more families out there struggling. Families she wish she could help. To tell them that they aren’t alone. That shopping no longer has to be stressful for their children. But getting the word out there is hard.
So if you know someone who’s life has been affected by ASD or would simply like to know more about Candice’s story, visit www.letsgoapps.com.au and help spread the word about Let’s Go Shopping.