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Mother of autistic son becomes inspired to create child-friendly game to make shopping easier for kids

Jenny Barnett saw huge success at her local store in Middlesborough with the scheme now rolled out nationwide

Jenny Barnett came up with the idea of the list with her five-year-old son Charlie

When Jenny Barnett saw how her school communicated with her autistic son, she became inspired to help make their life easier.

So, knowing how hard it is to shop with an autistic child, 32-year-old Jenny came up with a game to keep Charlie, 5, interested during shopping trips.

She designed and created a shopping list using symbols of groceries that Charlie, who has non-verbal autism, can tick off once they've been added to the trolley.

Her idea, called "Happy Little Helpers", was first launched at the Asda store where she works in Middlesborough and it was so successful that bosses decided to roll it out across 300 stores nationwide.

The game sees children use the Velcro-backed symbols to help their parents shop, making it easier for them to ignore distractions and ensure a calmer, stress free shopping trip.

Jenny has worked at the store for eight years and said: "I’m over the moon that this has been rolled out to hundreds of Asda stores – I’m chuffed to bits.

"It’s such a nice feeling that I can walk into an Asda miles away from Middlesbrough and see another child benefiting from my idea – it’s going to help so many children which is great.

"Customers and colleagues have said to me it’s a great idea. It just shows that colleagues should always come forward with ideas – you never know what’s going to happen."

"I know how hard it is to go into a shop and be a mum with a child who is throwing a tantrum and throwing themselves on the floor.

"By creating the shopping list it takes the pressure away and helps children concentrate on a task which in turn reduces stress.

"I’m absolutely delighted that the Happy Little Helpers initiative is being rolled out to more than 300 stores, it makes me very proud and if it can help just one Mum, Dad or child then the whole thing will be worth it."

In-store community champions will be holding awareness events featuring information boards for parents and Happy Little Helper packs from September 11 to September 17.

All Asda superstores and supercentres now have ten Happy Little Helpers shopping lists at their customer service desk for customers to collect at the start of their shop. The full store list is here .

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