When a Big Win Blossoms From a Little Shopping Trip

Sabrina L. Johnson avatar

by Sabrina L. Johnson |

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Outings with Angelman | Angelman Syndrome News | With a bright pink shirt and the sun behind her, Juliana smiles in a shopping center parking lot on an outing with her mom.

Sabrina L. Johnson

Juliana is a happy camper after a shopping excursion with her mom.

Taking my 11-year-old Angel, Juliana to the store with me is a trip that always has the potential to lead to an unexpected or unwelcome adventure. However, I received a pleasant surprise when we headed to the store on a recent hot summer day.

We made it through the entire visit without any hiccups. There were no meltdowns. She didn’t damage anything or toss a carton of blueberries as she did a few years ago. That was a shopping trip I have yet to forget.

Instead, I got a calm, happy girl who seemed pleased to run around the store with me. She was patient as I went up and down the aisles searching for items I couldn’t find. This was a far cry from past store visits we’ve had that saw Juliana fuss so much that shopping was almost impossible. It would also take a lot of work to keep her occupied. As she got older, the challenge became getting her to walk beside me as I tried to hold on to her and the cart.

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However, if I’m heading to a store that provides a Caroline’s Cart, much of this wrangling is solved. Unfortunately, for this outing, we were at a store without one. Still, Juliana walked with me and even helped navigate the cart a little. I know that my husband helps Juliana practice her cart skills when they are at the store. This is also a skill that she has practiced during community-based instruction at school. It looks like all that practice is finally paying off.

Outings with Angelman | Angelman Syndrome News | Managing cart skills with Angelman | Juliana smiles while pushing a cart at the

Every trip to the grocery store is a learning opportunity for Juliana, seen here practicing her shopping cart skills. (Photo by Sabrina L. Johnson)

For many parents, being able to walk calmly through a store with your child isn’t a big deal. But it’s a huge deal for me for a number of reasons. Firstly, I really brace myself for mishaps. Secondly, there are so many things to manage during most outings. And those first two things have shown me that any trip is likely to take a little longer, which adds stress.

Because of this, I try to plan longer errands when Juliana can stay home with her dad. But on this day, my husband and 10-year-old daughter, Jessa were at a playdate, so Juliana and I were flying solo, and I couldn’t put off a trip to the store. I took a chance and braced for the worst. However, I got a nice surprise on that beautiful summer day. I was also reminded that an unexpected win with my Angel can pop up anytime or anywhere — even at the grocery store.


Note: Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angelman Syndrome News, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Angelman syndrome.


Anonymous avatar


Wow, this is such a beautiful story and you are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

Sabrina L. Johnson avatar

Sabrina L. Johnson

Well you just made my day! I always want to put things out there that inspire or helps others. So glad you enjoyed the article and took a minute to comment.


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