Shoppers line up outside a Trader Joe’s in Mission Valley. Photo by Chris Stone

Trader Joe’s on Friday announced a collaboration with a free life-skills app that supports people with autism and other special needs.

Officials with Trader Joe’s said it is the first grocery store chain to partner with the MagnusCards by Magnusmode app. The launch coincided with World Autism Day, as well as Autism Acceptance Month.

Trader Joe’s, based in Monrovia, operates 515 stores in 42 states and Washington, D.C. – 15 are located in San Diego County.

Using digitalized “Card Decks,” the MagnusCards app “guides users through tasks and activities that might otherwise feel challenging or overwhelming,” according to a Trader Joe’s statement.

As Magnusmode’s first grocery partner, Trader Joe’s is offering five TJ’s-related Card Decks within the app.

Using visual cues and step-by-step instructions, with optional audio enhancement, each deck focuses on a different aspect of the Trader Joe’s shopping experience. Examples include “Checking Out Your Items” and “Sensory Experiences in the Store.”

“Grocery stores can be challenging places for individuals with autism, but the basic necessity of buying food and the simple pleasure of selecting what you plan to eat is vital for all people,” says Magnusmode’s founder and president, Nadia Hamilton. “Trader Joe’s MagnusCards provide support for a critical skill set that everyone needs and a fun experience that everyone deserves.”

The app is available for download in Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The Trader Joe’s MagnusCards can be found in the app’s “Shopping” section.

“Creating a positive and inclusive shopping experience is our utmost priority, so we’re thrilled to be able to offer our customers this wonderful tool. It’s a tremendous opportunity to further support our customers and their caregivers,” said Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel.

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