Date night out this week with Dylan was lovely.
We had a meeting with Dylan’s consultant earlier in the week and it gave me an opportunity to think about age appropriate expectations. When Josh and I go out he will often make requests to the waiting staff and on a recent hotel night away with Grace she loved ringing down for room service and ordering out supper herself.
So this week I tried to have an open mind with my expectations and opportunities. Dylan chose pizza Hut. He loves pizza, always has and I imagine he always will. The waiting area was empty and so we waited to be noted. I used this time to explain to Dylan that the staff would come over and want to get us seats. I quickly programmed the request
‘ Table for two please’
into his IPad and let him know that he could use this to get us a table if he wanted. Well he loved it.
When the waitress came over he quickly pressed the button and his iPad sounded so confident the waitress had no chance to look over at me.
‘Certainly sir’ she said directly to him ‘please follow me’.
She then led Dylan over to the centre of the restaurant and gave him the choice of a table near the window or a boot on the other side. She didn’t even look at m – all of it was directed to Dylan. Dylan pointed over to the booth and she sat us both down. It was magic.
I know that Dylan wanted the special deal Pizza Hut do on a Wednesday – Unlimited pizza buffet, starter, unlimited salad, unlimited fries and bottomless coke. I quickly popped ‘buffet’ into the IPad and showed him where it was in the Pizza Hut folder. When a different waitress came over to take our orders I gestured to Dylan to use the IPad and he pressed the buttons and gave the waitress the iPad so she could see his request.
‘Would you like chicken, garlic bread or ice-cream?’
she asked him.
HIM Not ME!!! Dylan needed support to understand what was being asked but even after I had helped Dylan fid his words to make the choice she still addressed Dylan directly. The pride on Dylan face was magical. It was so lovely seeing him be understood and his growing confidence. We talked throughout the meal and Dylan made full use of the unlimited food options.
Dylan requested more chips with the iPad and while I was away from the table getting more drinks I heard the waitress say to him kindly on the way past
‘Only two minutes for the chips okay?’
I wasn’t even there, it wasn’t for my benefit; she was talking to Dylan. I was really impressed with the understanding and acceptance shown by the staff in the restaurant. We had a great time.
Getting ready to pay I explained to Dylan that he would need to get the waitresses attention by keeping looking at her so that she knows to come over, Dylan span himself right round on his chair so that he could seek out the waitress and kept looking at her until she came over.
‘Can I have the bill please?’
on the IPad and I loaded up his Osper card so that he could see it through and pay for dinner for us both.
The only difficulty was with the toilet. When Dylan needs the toilet I take him into the ladies and wait outside his cubical. When out with Dad Dylan will go in the meds with him but that’s not an option when it’s just the two of us. We were suck when I needed the loo. I couldn’t take him in the cubicle with me – there’s not enough room and it’s not really appropriate anymore. I daren’t leave him outside the cubicle; now he’s thirteen Dylan no longer looks like a little boy and I worry about other ladies who may come into the toilet while he’s waiting outside my cubicle door, they may be frightened to see an older boy alone in the ladies toilets. I did think about leaving him sitting at the table and nipping in alone; I doubt he would have moved from the mountain sides plate of pizza in front of him but I daren’t try it, besides Dad and I haven’t planned how to manage things like leaving Dylan, even for a moment. He could bolt and run off or someone could try and talk to him or he could start shrieking or behaving inappropriately. We don’t know what Dylan would do unaccompanied nor how people would react.
So I sat and crossed my legs and vowed to discuss it with Dad once home so we have a plan for next time. 🙂