Thoughts on eating out from one of our parents:

I really hate it when people stare, out at dinner for the third night in a row, and my son is not having it, he has been great the previous nights dinners, but as soon as he walked in and took his seat, he was done. For the third night in a row there was nothing on the menu that my son would eat, so yet again he ate chicken nuggets that I snuck in, normally this would be fine and get him through but today he was angry maybe because we were eating outside and the sun was in his eyes, maybe because he was sick of having to sit still while everyone else had a conversation he could not understand. What ever the reason he was not going to stay in this place and he made that clear by whining in the manner we call “car alarming” because that is exactly how it sounds, loud rhythmic and super annoying. People start staring, you can see the looks of horror on the faces of the people seated near us, and you hear people ask each other what is wrong with him, no one says anything to me as I frantically try to diffuse the situation get our dinner order changed to go and get the hell out of there, I just wish that someone would ask, is there something we can do to help? Ask me don’t talk about me like I’m not there. I know my son is ruining your dinner, I’m sorry and I leaving just as fast as I can pay the bill, is it really too much to ask that you offer me some kindness? I can remember when I was on the other side, when screaming children made me roll my eyes and wish I were not seated so close, I wish I could go back and tell that version of me what this feels like, how often it happens, and that its not bad parenting. The unpredictable nature of autism means one dinner out is awesome and the same place the next day is like torture to his system, I don’t know why. We are far away from home so dinner out again today, so wish me luck, and if you see me or someone like me out and about have some patience, we are doing the best we can.