Shop assistances make my wife meltdown, masks cant be worn

I just ordered a mask exception card for my wife from the hidden disability page, I’m hoping this will help if shops try to enforce mask wearing. But I cant wear one as my wife needs to read my lips when we are out, how can I shop without one? If an argument breaks out because I’m not wearing one my wife will certainly have a melt down. We will have our 2 year old with us and she will get upset and I’m worried that staff won’t deal with things properly (because half of them haven’t had proper training)

My wife had a melt down in asda this week because they is a new queuing system in the floor in small black arrows with no signage. We joined a checkout as normal and a woman put her hands on my wife’s arm and told her she was doing it wrong and mh wife just lost it. Screaming rocking, sobbing, unable to talk. In the end the security guard was called and people were staring and laughing. Not a single member of staff knew what to do. I kept trying to explain she’s autistic but they were trying to move me away. Luckily an older gentleman stepped in to help me (he told me his grandson is autistic so it didn’t phase him) the shop were literally one step away from calling the police and i heard them saying they thought she was “high in something” my wife hasn’t left the house since. I need to get her out but make sure she is safe.


How distressing…

I have noticed some people with masks with clear bits where the lips are.

If I were you i would google to see if you can find any.

I am rubbish at links otherwise I would look for you.

David have you heard of “Hidden Disabilities” ?

I know that Sainsburys are recognising the Sunflower Lanyard and Hidden Disabilities card but not sure about Asda - it might be worthwhile checking it out (there is a section on the website where you can put in your postcode and it checks which shops/organisations recognise the scheme in your area).

Oh David, what a nightmare outing.
How horrid that people laughed. Thank goodness for the lovely elderly gentleman.

The constant changes and needing to adapt is exhausting for neurotypical folk let alone those with autism.

Familiar places might be reopening but everywhere is different and constantly changing.

Those supporting people who are lip reading are exempt from wearing masks on public transport, so should be in shops too.

Folk seem to understand ‘deaf’ more than they understand ‘autism’ so perhaps just say my wife is deaf (for an easy life.) You could also learn to sign it and do this at the door so they let you in without a fuss.
When S was little, shopping at Christmas time was hell as everyone is less patient. I had a badge made for him that said Please be patient? I have autism. It did help.

I think you should write to the manager of the store, clearly their staff need some training.


I hope you find an exemption solution David, but I also hope that you’ve all heard the news that masks will be compulsory in shops in England from 24/7/20.

Hi David

I don’t really want to recommend one store over another but I’ve always been treated excellently by Sainsbury’s whenever I’ve suffered a seizure (including 2 tonic clonics) at my local supermarket. About 3 weeks ago I experienced a bad partial seizure there. When I started to recover my senses, one of their people slowly helped me to remember where I lived before allowing me to leave the shop.

It might be worth looking into a change of store.

Best wishes, one David to another

Shops are not mask mandatory for everyone. My wife has her exempt card. I feel as though I should order one aswell just to make things easier and then I can explain that if my wife is with me she needs to read my lips.

I am still chasing up my complaint with asda.

My wife couldn’t leave the bedroom today because its all too much for her. This is horrible, we had just started making progress and now we are further back than we started.

I’m sorry, but plan your outing carefully, decide what you want to buy and decide on a pointing system. Maybe have a a pen each and a few pieces of paper for when you need clarification. You make it sound hard, but some have been living with it for years before Covid…

My Mum can’t speak, write, sign I wish I had you’re little problem/

I really feel for you. I don’t see your problem as a little one .Even when my husband was at his worst, I knew other people were in much more difficult positions, but it didn’t help me when I thought was going to have a meltdown.

Sandra, I know life is hard for you, I most certainly understand that, but what you have replied to David sounds very harsh and judgemental. Hopefully reads harsher than meant.

You’re both entitled to one if you check this link, having Autism gives your wife entitlement, and her needing to read your lips also gives you the entitlement.

If you know your wife is easily upset, then you need to have a different strategy, shop online for major purchases, shop at a different time or in a different shop, where staff can get to know her and she can enjoy shopping.