“Could you please load up my reusable grocery bags? Heavy bags are fine.” These are the direction I often give the bagger at my local grocery store. Today, I was pleasantly surprised when I was handed my bag with a smile. I thanked the young woman, and walked away thinking, “ I hope that young woman is in college.” She was attentive and smiled, was able to navigate the spatial relationship between my groceries and the bag, no bananas on the bottom, and she followed my directions exactly which meant one bag for most groceries and a thermal bag for diary. How does this behavior equate to college?
However in just this simple interaction, she tapped into many executive function and language skills providing a quick snapshot of her overall functioning. First she demonstrated initiation, she grabbed the bag. Then planning and good spatial judgement, she was able to successfully load all the groceries in the bags in an organized fashion. In addition she showed good auditory comprehension, I only gave the instructions once. Finally, she showed good social skills, eye contact and a smile. Who knew it took so many skills to bag groceries.
Today there were no breakdowns in communication, no additional instructions required. The young woman even put the cold items in the thermal bag without being asked and said, “Have a good day!” Usually I ask but I didn’t have time today, but as a young woman of color I sure hope she is in college!