Sunday, November 21, 2010

Whole Foods Market Store Implements Hands-On Shopping Program for People with Autism

The Whole Foods Market Store in Naperville, Illinois, located at 2607 W. 75th Street, Naperville, IL 60540, has implemented a helpful program called Hands-On Shopping for people with autism and other newly forming and special abilities.

The complimentary program provides a visual tactile tool for shopping and learning that is available to individuals with autism as well as anyone else who would like to utilize it. Resources available through the program include large, colorful laminated lists and attachable prompts that help individuals with special needs navigate their way through the store facility and organize their shopping.

Shoppers who use the Hands-On Shopping program can sign out one of three systems—miniature products, picture and word cards or word cards—from the store’s customer service desk. Once the item is located in the store, it is placed into a “shopping cart.”
The program was developed as a result of the advocacy of a store employee named Tarryl who is the mom of two children who have autism.

You can call (630) 579-7700 or send an email to to reserve materials for your shopping trip in advance.

Currently, the program is only available at the Naperville store, but I am hopeful that the program will be wildly popular and successful and will soon be implemented in all of the company’s stores. I encourage you to contact your local Whole Foods store and ask the manager to implement the program there. I also would encourage you to contact the company‘s headquarters to let them know that this is exactly the kind of socially responsible program that both promotes customer loyalty and makes community outings positive experiences for citizens of all abilities.

The contact information for Whole Foods World Headquarters is:

Whole Foods Market, Inc.
550 Bowie Street
Austin, TX 78703-4644
512-477-5566 voicemail
512-482-7000 fax

More companies, organizations and institutions need to follow in Whole Foods footsteps by finding creative ways to make their facilities more accessible and responsive to the needs of consumers with autism and other disabilities.

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