Eat Out - Even With An Autistic Child
Do you avoid eating out because you have a child with autism, and it's just too stressful to take him to a restaurant? We have some tips to help you avoid some common headaches when dining out at a restaurant with an autistic child.
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Problem: Your autistic child doesn't want to eat anything
The majority of kids with autism are super fussy eaters. They don't like anything unless it passes the essential look, feel, smell and taste tests -- and it's a rare morsel indeed that meets even the first two qualifications.
Don't give up! Here are some things to keep in mind when taking a child with autism to a restaurant, diner or even a cafeteria.
More tips for fussy eaters:
When all else fails...
Sometimes there's simply nothing that will work to calm an autistic child -- your kid is D-O-N-E. Always be prepared to take your meal to go. In this case, you might want to employ the two-part exit strategy: One parent/guardian takes your child or children outside or to the car, while whoever's paying or waiting for the takeout boxes hangs back until finished. (Remember to leave a nice tip if your waiter or waitress has dealt admirably with the situation.)
Know when to hold 'em... know when to walk away
Although it certainly is important for your child to learn how to behave in real-world situations out in public, don't force the issue too much. You deserve to enjoy dining out, and the last thing you want to do is make the experience miserable every time. If you work at it -- but don't stress out about it -- in time, everything will all come together. Until then... Thanks for your order, and please pay at the second window.
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