Many restaurants now welcome autistic people

Many restaurants now ?welcome autistic people

Sisters Juhi and Bobby Ramani are on a mission to make restaurants in the city friendly to those with autism.

On World Autism Day, they are marking a milestone: 15 restaurants now welcome autistic people.

The initiative is the brainchild of I Support Foundation, an NGO run by Juhi and Bobby. With help from volunteers, they are spreading awareness about autism.

"My brother Shivam is an autistic adult. Bobby and I grew up watching his struggles. So we decided to do something for those like him," she says.

They decided to reach out to the world by setting up an NGO.

"It was a challenge to get some eateries to agree to this, but that was mostly because they didn't know anything about autism. Once we explained how autism-related situations can be handled, they were more than happy to come on board," she explains.

So if you see a sticker that says 'Autism Friendly', you know Juhi and Bobby have been there.

"During the orientation for restaurants, we teach them not to look at autistic people differently. If an autistic child throws a tantrum, don't stare. It's important to make the families comfortable," explains Juhi.

Soon, they want to approach gyms to make them friendly to autistic people; physical well-being is important for those with autism. "An important factor in the upbringing of people with autism is their social exposure. We also hope to provide employment opportunities for them," says Juhi.

What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three that adversely
affects educational performance.

Seats near the door

At a workshop for restaurant staff, the sisters discussed scenarios and how to handle them.
First of all, staff have to be sensitive. They must give autistic people seating on the ground floor or near the door. This is because special children have a phobia of heights, and may have to be taken outside in case of an outburst. Children must also be given an activity book to
keep them engaged till their order arrives.

Some Autism-friendly places

Moriz, Baskin Robbins, Donut House, Elaichi, Bak Bak Bar, Kargeens Cafe, Chung Wah,
Petto, Bakasur, Treat, and Chatpata India.

Difficulties faced by Autistic people

Qualitative impairment in social interaction and communication.
Lack of eye contact.
Slower acquisition of speech sound production.
Severe delay in receptive and expressive language along with delay in emotional and social skills.
Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interest and activities like such as hand flapping, spinning, lining up objects.
Withdrawal from others prefers to be left alone.
Lack of responsiveness to people.
Disinterest in pointing to things and asking questions.

 

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