- Trader Joe’s has partnered with life skills app Magnusmode to offer special branded cards that help shoppers with autism and other cognitive and intellectual disabilities navigate its stores, according to a press release.
- The free app now contains five card decks that highlight different parts of shopping, like the sensory experience inside stores and checking out. The digital cards are made to help guide users through tasks they might otherwise find overwhelming.
- Trader Joe’s is the first grocer partner for Magnusmode and is launching its partnership at the beginning of Autism Acceptance Month.
Although millions of U.S. consumers consider grocery shopping to be a routine experience, individuals with autism and other cognitive and intellectual disabilities can find the process to be an overwhelming mix of information and sensory cues.
Magnusmode aims to break down the shopping process into easy-to-follow steps that help users know what to expect and allow them to practice beforehand. In the Trader Joe's card deck for “Sensory Experiences in the Store,” it notes that shoppers can expect to hear various sounds while in the store, including customers talking, cash registers beeping and receipts printing. Another card under "Checking Out Your Items" states that if shoppers have a lot of bags at checkout, a store employee will offer to help carry them out and provides two possible answers a user can give when asked.
The other three card decks go over how to read a product label, what to expect while shopping during the pandemic and how to shop with a list.
Offering this resource could help Trader Joe's become a destination for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is diagnosed in 1 in 54 U.S children. It also projects an image of inclusiveness for the broader Trader Joe's shopping community.
"Creating a positive and inclusive shopping experience is our utmost priority," Trader Joe's spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel said in a statement.
Magnusmode Founder and President Nadia Hamilton started off creating hand-drawn guides for her brother, Troy, outlining everyday tasks. Today, the company offers digitized card decks that outline tasks like brushing teeth, cleaning the house and making trips to places like the bank, the library and to local restaurants. Companies like Colgate, A&W Restaurants and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce have sponsored cards outlining these tasks.
"Grocery stores can be challenging places for individuals with autism, but the basic necessity of buying food and the simple pleasure of selecting what you plan to eat is vital for all people," Hamilton said in the press release.