Autism mom grateful to Big Y for help

The struggles of autism and GI challenges can't keep this girl from enjoying life.

The struggles of autism and GI challenges can’t keep this girl from enjoying life.

CHESTERFIELD – Allison Records says she is just a mom doing what she needs to for her children.
Others might say she is an inspiration.
The Chesterfield resident has two daughters, both with special needs, and both impacted in very different ways.
Her older daughter,Michelle, is more mildly affected. Smart as a whip and sensory sensitive, Michelle is a fourth-grader who most days struggles with the typical tween angst, with the added twist that often comes with a narrow focus of interests and a penchant for correcting others.
Alexandra is four. A happy preschooler. Lover of unicorns. And more severely affected by autism. Alexandra also has a slew of gastrointenstinal issues that started from day one. Her challenges include ASD, sensory processing disorder, intestinal malrotation, GERD, chronic constipation, epilepsy, asthma, sleep disorders, and dermatographia.
One of the biggest challenges for Alexandra is eating. She simply doesn’t eat very often.
“The one thing she seemed to like that was nutritious was Gerber Stage 3 Chicken Noodle Dinner,” said Records.
Once she realized Alexandra could get the nutrition she needed in this one jar, Records went about trying to stock up but she found empty shelves pretty much everywhere.
“I went to Stop & Shop, Big Y, Target, Walmart – everywhere in western Mass.,” she said.
When she found a few jars at the Northampton Big Y, she asked Manager Jeanne Prest if she happened to have any in the stockroom and explained why she wanted – needed – it so desperately.
Prest listened to Records and reacted as a mom.
“She was nice and not patronizing,” said Records. “They went out back and pulled everything they had, which was 16 jars.”
Prest then emailed her boss to see if they could get more.
“I got a call later that night that they had emailed all the other stores and they pulled every jar from every Big Y,” Records said. “I was blown away by their kindness.”
When Records went to Big Y to pick up the jars, she found out Gerber was changing the label and the texture – both would cause a major meltdown from Alexandra since familiar textures and routines are comforting to people with ASD. Big Y’s distributor gave her a full case.
That was enough to restore Records’ faith in humanity. Then they took it a step further.
“Big Y reached out to Gerber and they gave me 10 cases,” said Records. “I was thrilled, but also wondering how I was going to pay for it all. And then they said it was on them.”
Records said she is often met with rude stares, whispers and general lack of understanding when she talks to someone about the struggles of autism.
“Big Y was amazing, and they didn’t think anything of it – they just wanted to help,” she said. “I hate to say it, but that’s not something I usually experience.”
Records said she is just a mom trying to feed her daughter and give her children what they need.
“It was so nice that they just treated me like a mom,” she said. “They saw a problem and helped me solve it, and there are not a lot of solvable problems with autism.”
April is Autism Awareness Month and April 2 is World Autism Day. Records encourages everyone to wear blue April 2 to show your support of people with ASD and to become more educated on autism.

To Top