Thanks to our Adriana Gamondes for sharing this link to an Autism Society Lehigh Valley (PA) event called Autism Eats. There is an org called Autism Eats - not sure if this is part of their work. From the AE website: Autism Eats provides autism-friendly non-judgmental environments for family dining, socializing and connecting with others who share similar joys and challenges.
At a time when the neurodiversity community is trying to tell us to "just accept autism" or that autism is simply a neuro-difference, programs have popped up around the nation that while good intentioned, basically ghetto'ize and segregate people with autism and their families. What do you think of separate seatings at a restaurant for those of us with kids with autism?
Sure, a night out without dirty looks, guzzling a glass of wine or beer like a desert wanderer, eating an entire meal on the plate and not out of the box hours later at home sounds good. Reaaaallllly good. I love when I can take my girls places where we "fit in." But at what cost? If autism is a gift, a difference, not a problem to be solved or a diagnosis to be healed or God forbid cured, how are we to feel about being segregated in this way? We can go to Sesame Place - on autism day. We can even go to Broadway! For the autism lights up matinee. Is this sustainable living? Is it a Bandaid? If so, I'll take the Bandaid. To a point. It does bother me that we have to be treated so differently, even though, I know we do - if that makes any sense.
My girls and I would enjoy a meal together in a restaurant offering autism eats for sure. But make no bones about it, there is NO OTHER diagnosis that gets this treatment. Kim
Dinner out at a local restaurant is something many families take for granted.
But eating out is not always easy for those with autistic children. These children can become overwhelmed by the sounds, sights and smells of a new place to eat, and the change in routine.
"Families can feel uncomfortable in that environment," says Karen Williams, vice president of the Autism Society of the Lehigh Valley.
Families with children on the autism spectrum can dine out in an environment that's free of judgment and stress next week. The Autism Society Lehigh Valley will host Pennsylvania's first "Autism Eats" dinner. It runs 6-8 p.m. July 18 at Italiano Delite in Emmaus.