Lots of people, loud noises, weird smells, new foods and no space to move around… yep, dining out with kids is anything but relaxing. And for families with children on the autism spectrum, it can be even more challenging. But there are ways to make restaurant visits less stressful, says Dawn M. Barclay, travel expert and author of Traveling Different: Vacation Strategies for Parents of the Anxious, the Inflexible, and the Neurodiverse.
In her book, Barclay interviews psychologists, travel agents, parents and more to create a travel guide for families with special needs, with a whole chapter dedicated to restaurant dining. Here are some of her best tips for how to have a successful dining experience. (And by the way, these tips are helpful for all families, not just those with neurodiverse children.)