Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A positive restaurant experience

It isn't every day that I have a positive restaurant experience with my autistic boys so I had to share our sheer joy.

Near the beginning of a long road trip we stopped for dinner at a Subway restaurant. As I was 10 seconds into the obligatory explanation of the ordering process to my kids, my son with Asperger says, “Dad, I understand,” and he steps up to the counter to order. In 20 seconds his order was complete and he had a huge smile on his face. Why?

Subway has switched to a 5-step ordering process. Stuck to the plastic shields between you and the sandwich items are a decals detailing each step. Each step has listed the possible options. The decals for each step are right in front of the item options making it incredibly clear the link between word and object.

(These are outlined on page two in this menu)
Step .5 (not listed): choose your meat
Step 1: 12”, 6”, salad, or flatbread
Step 2: Choose your bread (and toasted or not)
Step 3: Choose your cheese
Step 4: Choose your veggies
Step 5: Choose your sauce/dressing
Step 6: Do you want to make it a meal?

My son easily understood the choices to be made and, since he was able to complete his order without any parental help, he came away happy and content. All of these are rare for him in public spaces and left me not only speechless but tearing-up. Good thing I was ordering last.

This happened on the second day of our long road-trip. Any bets on where he asked to go for lunch/dinner for the remainder of the trip?

Thanks Subway!

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