10 Things We’d Like Restaurateurs to Know About Our Special Needs Family


Like all families, we adore days out. Being parents of a beautiful little girl with profound special needs, these days out altogether are so precious. To make them as enjoyable as we can, we tend to go out during off-peak times so there isn’t as much hustle and bustle. But even so, we love being right in the thick of life.

Like every other family, we get cabin fever if we’re stuck indoors for a long period of time. Here are the 10 things we’d like restaurateurs to know when we do get out:

1. If we’re eating in your restaurant, we’ve probably checked it out in secret about five times. (Yes, you recognize us from our heads peeking in the window!)

2. If we are there, you’re doing a great job with accessibility. Well done.

3. We really, really want to be there. Days out are often few and precious.

4. We might need a small bit of extra space because we don’t travel light.

5. Your food is delicious (remember our five secret checks), but we can’t always wait the 20 or 30 minutes for it to be served. Sometimes it can be really hard to occupy our little girl, who might be unfamiliar with this new environment and be tipping into meltdown territory as soon as your incredible steak arrives to our table.

6. If we smile apologetically and gently inquire as to how long our meal might take, know that this time our great plan is falling apart, the day is going pear-shaped and the family meltdown is hurtling towards us. We would probably prefer at this stage to abandon ship, but we’ve already ordered and would never do that to a business, so please hurry!

7. Our absolute wish would be that we could call ahead with our order and time that we would be there when it’s served. This would save those pesky 20 or 30 minutes.

8. A great family experience out will be one of our cherished memories.

9. If our child looks uncomfortable, upset or in our case, bent over with her head touching her feet, understand that we are not bad parents bringing her into a situation she’s unable to experience. We would never ever do that. Understand that children with special needs are like every other child and often exercise their fabulous right as a child to act up, have a tantrum, be a little monkey and cause rascally havoc, and this is just one of those times.

10. When you accommodate us well — and we have be accommodated fantastically — we think you’re rockstars, and we tell all our friends!

Thank you,

Ann, Charlene and Miley

Follow this journey on Mommies Swing Me Higher.

The Mighty is asking the following: Create a list-style story of your choice in regards to disability, disease or illness. It can be lighthearted and funny or more serious — whatever inspires you. Be sure to include at least one intro paragraph for your list. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.