That is Owen. He likes restaurants. He likes people. He wants to give his own order to the person at the counter or the server who comes to the table. He loves interacting with others. But most restaurants have menus with writing. However we have started to see restaurants that changed their kids' menu to include pictures. Kids can see exactly what there is to eat and make their own choice about their meal.
This is a big deal to our family. And I know it's important to others. In order for Owen to be his own person, he has to be able to make choices for himself. It starts at home with picking out his own clothing, choosing the movie he wants to watch or the activity he wants to do, or making his lunch for school with the items he'd like to eat. When it comes to restaurants, the ability to make your own choice is exactly why you go there. When you can't speak and a server most likely doesn't know sign language, your ability to choose is taken away. With picture menus, it really does give him back his voice in order to do something that I know I take for granted. We have incorporated menu choice into his talker as well so that way Owen always has a voice.
My husband recently directed an international conference in Monterey, CA. Owen and I joined him at the tail end of it and the staff at the Hyatt Regency there went out of their way to make us feel welcomed. They asked Solito how they might make it easy for Owen to enjoy meals at their hotel restaurant and when he explained that a picture menu would be helpful, they made him one!
If you are looking for something simple for your iPhone to assist a loved one at a restaurant, try this app that will allow you to create your own menus on your phone. I am still searching for a good option on Android platform, so if you know of one, please leave a comment!
Sometimes the simple things are the biggest things in the world to someone. I wish more restaurants would invest in this kind menu. A big, big shout out to Red Robin, Bubba Gump's, Village Inn, Uno's, Rainforest Cafe, for their awesome menus!
*If you have a restaurant near you that uses a picture menu, please share with me. I'd like to reach out to all of those restaurants and encourage them to keep using these menus.
|Owen's specially made menu from Hyatt Regency|