Wednesday, August 20, 2008

TOOK A LEAP...

Some may think that a night out with the family is no big deal. But when you are seven and two are autistic, a night out with all seven of us has NEVER occurred. All that changed last night thanks to an organization called POAC and a restaurant in Aberdeen NJ called The Court Jester. Forget that we barely FIT all of us in the minivan, forget that any number of things could have set the girls off. I walked into this restaurant expecting to explain "Well YOU invites US" and having at least two of the family waiting for the rest in the van at the end of the night.

Well the evening went off without a hitch. Hardly an outburst from either child; no major fighting between the older three. People coming around every now and again willing to take a child off our hands to entertain them while we eat. It was great to have volunteers from both POAC and New Horizons in Autism there willing to help out. A gluten free menu was available, although we had backup food which proved to also be a lifesaver since both rejected the fair.

What was really great was the sense of community I got out of the experience. We are somewhat isolated in who we interact with; we really only see parents and children in our own age group at the current school. It was nice to see varying ages of autistics, from toddlers to adults all enjoying themselves. It went so well we thought why we hadn't done this in a 'real' restaurant. But I think having that ability to let our hair down, have an occasional 'whoop' come out of Liv, that a sense of worry might have affected our mood and made it more probable that a meltdown would occur. It's a shame that people in the 'real' world can't get over their need for quiet, perfect enjoyment of their evening to accommodate our differences.

Speaking of, one of Grace's aids was there and almost didn't recognize her. You see, last week we had a bit of an incident where a pair of scissors went missing and Grace decided it was time for a makeover. Thank goodness no major accident occurred, but the styling job she did on her hair left much to be desired. She has 1 inch long bangs now and a good sized gash of hair missing from one side. It took a professional to get her to the point where she did not look like a train wreck, but no one in their right mind would have chosen her current 'bob', to put it euphemistically.

So, we may now have a once a month date at this restaurant since they are planning to do this monthly. Hope to see you there...

1 comment:

Mama Mara said...

How wonderful! We go to a restaurant owned by a lovely family who has always accommodated our special needs. For years, they removed the place mats and napkins from a table upon our arrival (back then, paper on a table made my oldest son vomit for unknown reasons). They still seat us far away from the kitchen and any diner with pungent food, and they serve us cold grilled cheese sandwiches especially refrigerated before our arrival (gooey cheese is a big no-no). I bet this wonderful restaurant family would consider the autie-night idea, and I'd love to send some business their way. Thanks for the great idea.