Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful young daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.
Every day, I count my blessings regarding Kyla’s health. She’s had exactly two ear infections in 4½ years, a handful of “sniffles” and one or two low-grade fevers. When she was teething, we didn’t even know it as she displayed no symptoms of discomfort. She’s never had the flu, strep throat, or any other common childhood maladies. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude that she’s never faced any serious illness. I can’t begin to imagine what parents go through when they have a truly sick child. My heart just breaks when I see “Make-A-Wish” families at Walt Disney World.
I truly appreciate her physical health. Likewise I am eternally grateful that she has no developmental, emotional, or social-psychological issues. There are so many things you hope and wish for as you prepare for your child’s birth. But the bottom line is always, “I want my baby to be healthy.”
Many times the parents of children with a disability say they wouldn’t change a thing about their child; that they are a blessing; that they can’t imagine life without them. I’ll admit that I really don’t know a lot about the broad diagnosis of autism. I know there are many manifestations of it. I know it’s not a “death sentence” and that parents of autistic children are just as proud of them as any other parent. Still, I’m sure they face daily challenges that are tough to imagine.
So if an everyday routine can be an ordeal, what must it be like for a family with an autistic child to try to go out to eat? Don’t they deserve to enjoy a meal that is prepared for them to their liking, to be waited on in a kind and courteous manner, and eat their food in a peaceful setting? Day-to-day encounters must be tough enough: must they succumb to rude comments, glaring stares, or being asked to leave an establishment?
I blogged yesterday about a North Carolina family (with their autistic son, Max). They were blessed by a stranger’s kindness. (H/T my hubby’s 9/7/13 Week-end’s Hero.) Check this out:
OK, a touching story about a generous & gentle-hearted fellow diner. But what about servers who encounter a family member with special needs? While I’m sure there are more difficult situations, perhaps they just aren’t sure how to treat a diner who needs extra assistance and wants the waitress to fix their “broken hamburger.” But a Utah Chili’s Bar and Grill knew just how to handle just those circumstances for Arianna MacLean.
And speaking of servers who might not know how to best wait on a family with special needs kids… Very close to home, the University of Wisconsin-Madison wanted to “provide a welcoming dining experience for all and to educate the public about autism” by hosting a special “Sensory Friendly Family Night” at a local Culver’s restaurant. It was quite a success!
I don’t personally know any individuals affected by autism. These statistics are offered by AutismSpeaks.org: Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. Perhaps stories like these will make us all more aware of special needs diners, and people won’t just assume “that kid is SUCH a brat!”
Displaying kindness, compassion, understanding and patience in a restaurant setting? How could that be anything BUT a Culinary Yes Yes?