Grocery Shopping for the Blind

Grocery Shopping for the Blind

The grocery shopping skill is used for everyone; even blind students. Here are a few ideas on how to teach grocery shopping skills for the blind.

We aim for the whole experience of making a list, checking prices, calling for assistance at the store or bringing a friend, walking or taking the bus to the store, buying the food, paying for it, packing their tote or bags and getting back home, or to school.

Get Organized…hmmm, an absolute running theme in what we do.

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  • Keep a grocery list throughout the week, either on a brailler or slate-n-stylus (slate n stylus is truly easiest at a home. Easy to put in a drawer, take out to add an item then slip it back in the drawer because it is so small and compact), yes a Braille Note or other adapted laptop works too, but I am always leery with computerized equipment around food and liquids. A grocery store can mean anything and you will never cry over ruining a piece of paper you brought to the store versus a Braille Note. Bring a calculator.

In school, students can write a list of ingredients needed to cook up a paticular meal.

  • Budgeting. Prices can be looked up online, to get an idea of how to stay within your budget. You may also call your local grocer for prices. If you are tech-savvy, you can order food items online, which will include the prices already.
  • Getting to the store. Select a grocer and then make a phone call beforehand to see if they have someone available to walk you through the store and gather items. You may walk to the store or ride the bus, either way it is great orientation nad mobility practice. When I lived by myself, I would always bring a rolling shopping tote and never buy more than the tote could carry. Students can also e encouraged to take reusable shopping bags to carry their contents.

If 2 or more students go shopping together, the students can divide up the responsibilities. One student can be in charge of handling the food and liquids, while the other student keeps track of the items on the braille note. This is great for the student who needs to practice math, because they will need to add up the total as they are shopping to stay within the budget.

  • Returning home, or to school, with the items and putting them away.

We have refrigerators at school and shelves to store the food until we use it. Due to the limited time in class, we divide the activities. Shop one day and cook or bake another. This way the students realize the reward of learning shopping techniques. As he students continue shopping, their fear will diminish.

When in school it is a greater benefit when you can do this in groups. I have my high school students mentor the young students…or sometimes everyone is learning the same thing and mentoring each other, but being together always adds to the fun.

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