To the past, present, and future individuals that we may have inconvenienced or annoyed while in public with our special needs child-
We will continue to take Milo out in the community, which includes eating at kid-friendly restaurants. (So friendly in fact, that they have a “kids eat for a dollar” night?!). Why will we continue to do it? It’s not because I think we have the “right” to be there. It’s not to exploit our child. It’s not to annoy other people. It’s not because we want to enjoy a meal. It IS because we want our child to face every obstacle he might face, and for him to know he can live in a world that is not designed for his way of thinking, and that is okay! Do you think we “enjoy” our attempts at dining out with him? Absolutely not! We have to prepare ourselves, our family, our friends, and Milo, that it is going to be a trying experience with the many feelings that accompany it. I would much rather play it safe and stay home so that he feels comfortable, but life isn’t comfortable, and he has a lot more to overcome. So yes, we will continue to have meals out, and I’m sure it’s not the last time I will come home and cry and be angry and hurt, but I surely am not doing it for me. I am doing it for my son, and he deserves to be taught and to learn just as anyone else. So for the two women that said “it’s not cute! We don’t appreciate it?!” during our meal last evening at a kid-friendly restaurant, I say get used to it. With autism on the rise, and with the statistics currently assessed at 1 in 68 children diagnosed, you’re better off staying at home because it surely isn’t getting any better. And for any parent of a special needs child of any type, I say go out in the community and be proud. Be proud that you love your child enough to give him or her every opportunity that any other child deserves. And be grateful, as I am, that the good Lord chose us to be the parents of an amazing and brave new life!