- Melody K
Autism Friendly? (Blog post)
We as autism parents wish every place and everywhere we went to would be autism-friendly, but in reality, it's not.
Grocery stores, restaurants, and many other places aren't autism sensory friendly.
We have to remember going into an establishment that's not marked or commonly know to accommodate "special needs/autism" we should be mindful.
Example: In a restaurant, unless it's Chuck E Cheese, the patrons are there to enjoy a meal out. Of course, it's expected to see families and children out. What is not expected is a child on the spectrum, or not, having a loud meltdown or sensory issues.
These customers that are out could be on a date, maybe a couple who finally was able to get some quality time together. Perhaps it's someone who is just escaping the chaos of their life. Whatever the reason is, they are out dining out and getting away for that moment.
There will always be some kind of distraction, regardless of what we do in life. No one can expect perfection. But if a child is having a meltdown, sensory issues, or being a distraction for AN AMOUNT of TIME, the best thing to do for the child and everyone is to leave.
Not everyone is aware of autism and all that it entails. Frankly, I don't think that others should be subject to be forced after a SIGNIFICANT amount of time to endure whatever may be going on.
As an autism mom, I understand going out with my kids. I am taking my children out of their comfort zone and outside of their world. I don't expect all the customers and staff to enter their world.
By taking our children out, we are teaching them about the environment and about how to behave outside of their world.
It takes time. I have left many establishments, just knowing that this place is not a place for my child at that moment, and it is affecting his sensory needs.
I don't expect other people to accommodate our world.
Some places do accommodate autism/special needs.
Those places have it posted, advertised, word of mouth and it's clearly autism Friendly. Or they may have select hours to accommodate special needs.
In a perfect world, it would be great for all to be aware and accommodate special needs/autism, but we must remember when going out to certain places, it is not the autism world. As we expect respect, understanding and courtesy from others, we need to have the same respect, understanding and courtesy for them.