SAN Rocco restaurant in Ashton-under-Lyne, which last year won praise from the mother of an autistic boy for the welcome they received, has created a special menu with pictures and symbols.
It means seven-year-old Taylor Sweeney can now choose his own food.
The family became regulars at the restaurant after they stopped eating out because of a number of “bad experiences” with Taylor who cannot speak and has a tendency to lunge forward or thrash himself around.
“As soon as we walked in the first time they were just amazing,” mum Nicola told the Manchester Evening News. “All the staff are brilliant.
“In other places we’d been before you find that people just don’t understand autism, they class it as a child being naughty. It’s like they had to accommodate us and it was too much like hard work.
“Here they’re not like that at all and we’ve never been anywhere like it. They clear the glass from the tables in case Taylor lunges forward and they’ll happily get a highchair for him as he still needs to sit in one. Nothing is too much trouble.”
She had special praise for manager Mark Waine who worked with speech therapist Sarah Jane Burke, who supports children with additional needs through the Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, to come up with the new menu.
“Parents know their children best, and are excellent at anticipating their needs and interpreting what they mean,” she said. “Children with communication difficulties rely heavily on parents and familiar people to support them.
“For example Nikki knows that her son loves bread sticks, but he’s non-verbal so he can’t ask for them in the same way another child might.
“Imagine how empowering it is for Taylor to be able to request his bread sticks independently, and for the whole team at San Rocco to understand him without mum or dad having to explain.”