Challenging Behaviour


My name's Michelle and I have a 9 year old son who has a diagnosis of Autism and severe cognitive and language and communcation delay.  We live a very full life, our days are never dull and we get into all sorts of mischief!  My son finds some environments challenging due to his sensory difficulties, presently we have a big issue with the new deli counters that are popping up in all of the supermarkets, they are easily accesible to members of the public.  Our local Sainsbury's do not have any "no entry" signs or barriers preventing people from freely walking into them.  Obviously this is not accpetable, however, my son is drawn to them like a magnetic and currently no PECS symbol, minimal language or distractions are working to keep him away from this area.  Does anyone have an suggestions to help us support our son more effectively? We want to encourage his independece and do not want this to be a constant barrier.

Many thanks for reading   

  • I don't understand the issue if they are meant to be accessible to the public?  Is he doing something wrong whilst in the area such as trying to manhandle unpackaged food?  Surely the counter is staffed?

  • Not everyone has a Sainsburys nearby - are these the counters with samples of the produce ready to hand?

    If so, if supermarkets leave food out they cannot really complain if a child grabs nibbles.

  • Hi, thank you for your response.  No, these new counters popping up are for staff to serve different food items to the public, pizza, cooked chickens etc.  They are located right at the back of the stores.  The staff access them through opening either side of the counters but there are no barriers, or visual signs, stopping members of the public from following them.  This is what is happening with my son.  He is extremely sensory, entering the supermarket is difficult for him, hands over ears, dropping through doorways when the blowers are on, to name a few.  He has an extremely limited diet so I don't believe he is trying to enter these counters to look at food items, we are introducing different food at home and he is just coping with touching them.  I believe that because the entrance to these areas are free flowing and lead off from the main environment, he just wants to follow through.  


  • If this is a local and regularly used supermarket by yourself, I would have no problem with talking to the store manager about your childs needs to have a barrier there. In fact it would be in the stores interest to have either a swing door or a chain with a stop sign on it that can be attached and detached, for obvious health and safety reasons. There are still knives behind those deli counters to chop meat like ham and turkey with. If they value your custom they will definateley endeavour to think about the needs of their customers. You never know, the staff may have already complained about the ease of access and possibly their own safety.