Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Autism Awareness Month Day 4 - A call to all restaurant goers

The new autism prevalence rates of 1:88 children nationwide and 1:47 in Utah represent a call to each of us to take action now, in our own sphere of influence, for in that action there is so much hope for the many families and individuals affected by autism. For Autism Awareness month, the Utah Autism Coalition will be featuring a call to action to a group of individuals each day of April.

Day 4: A call to all restaurant goers

As autism parents we have all received “The Stare.”  Laura from The Big Mak’s explains it perfectly in her post “The Stare.”  Here is an excerpt Because many of our kids lack the visual cue that they have a disability (a wheel chair, walker, distinguishable physical characteristic) the looks and stares can feel like a judgement or criticism.  The stares tend to come with the verbal outbursts, flapping, slapping clapping, hooting, screaming (you get the picture).  Many of these outward expressions of autism can be excused when the child is younger, but the tables are turned when your son is 6'3", 180 lbs, has facial hair and a deep base voice. “

To me it seems “The Stare” is particularly obnoxious when I am out with my family for dinner.  Going out to dinner is a treat for us, so we’d like to enjoy ourselves.  So today I am calling on restaurant goers everywhere to be a bit more understanding when a child/teenager/adult in the restaurant isn’t acting as you would expect.  Our world is full of so many different people it is impossible for you to understand what is going on with a quick glance, or even a long stare.

What we all need to do is take a lesson from one restaurant goer Laura met.  “He approached the table… and insisted on buying us dessert.” I don’t want to ruin the perfect way Laura tells her story so make sure to go read her post “The Stare.”

The take home message is everyone needs to be more understanding of others while sitting and enjoying our meals.

Thank you,
The Utah Autism Coalition