Step 1: Identify goal: My child will cooperate at the Specialty Store.
Step 2: Make a plan and identify your support team.
Teaching plan: Mentally go through each step involved in going to the store.
1. Choose the purpose of the trip and decide in advance if additional purchases are
2. Get in the car.
3. Drive to destination.
4. Walk into store.
5. Stay together and find the planned item.
6. If an option, allow browsing for a limited time and selection of additional items.
7. Wait in line and complete purchase transaction.
8. Leave store and get into the car.
9. Drive home.
Identify the steps that are a problem and address those. In this case, out of the 9 steps, we've identified these problem areas. Steps 5.,6.,7.,8.
Choose supports to address the problem areas
Reduce your child's anxiety by informing them of your destination well in advance.
Inform your child with a picture schedule what will be happening when you get there.
Include each step in the activity.
Let them know how they should behave
Use pictures to describe the expected behavior in advance.
Include a reward as motivation. Make it a good one.
Identify your support team.
Contact the store in advance and ask for an assistant. You can request assistance to avoid waiting in line.
When contacting the store, introduce yourself and your child by name and tell them that you will need accommodations. I have never run into a manager who wasn't happy to help in any way possible (b)(c). So, in this case, your support team would be you and the store's manager.
Follow your support plan and take whatever you need to the store. Be predictable and don't make changes the first time. Follow your plan.
I use a schedule page and follow each step, checking off as they are completed. It shows that the trip is limited and will end as planned, consistently informing your child that the trip is planned and not flexible.
If you've decided to allow browsing for additional items for a predetermined amount of time, use a timer and stick to it.
(a) Doing this with your child will familiarize them with the process. The first time, choose a specialty store item that they will be interested in. If you've done this disastrously in the past, the new organization will inform your child of the new routine.
(b) Introducing your family to local businesses is a good way to teach your child how to interact with others. The business personnel could get to know your names, and greet you when you come in, and wave goodbye to you when you leave.
(c) If you're usually not an outgoing person, here's an opening script to help you out:
You: "Hi, this is Karen Mills, may I speak with your manager?
Manager: "This is Melvin Phelps, I'm the store manager, how may I help you?"
You: "Hi. I am a customer of yours and I need your help. My 4 year old son has a disability and we will need special accommodations in your store. Primarily, he has a tendency to run around, vocalize, and cannot (yet) successfully wait in line. This visit is something I need to arrange ahead of time. Would it be possible to have someone personally assist us and check us out quickly? I am willing to come at a convenient time for you. What would be a good day and time?