At these eateries, autistic kids are ‘special guests’
Standing outside a popular eatery outlet with her sibling Shivam, while her mother ordered the food, was a turning point for Bobby Ramani.
Even as Shivam, who suffers from autism, stood restlessly frequently switching his attention, a common trait among autistic persons, Bobby waited patiently for her mother to signal when the food arrived. After a few minutes wait, the siblings went into the restaurant, had the meal and soon made their way out.
All this was done quickly so as to ensure Shivam (19) did not disturb other diners due to his ‘hyper nature.’
The incident left Bobby wondering about the problems faced by family of specially-abled children, who wanted to take their wards for a normal outing but were left at their wits’ end due to lack of facilities for them.
And thus was born Support Foundation, aimed at creating a helpful ambience for special children at eateries and cafes in the state capital. Speaking about the move, Bobby Ramani said, “I have a brother with autism and understand the joy and struggles that revolve around taking a specially-abled kid out. One of the worst traits in people with autism is impatience.”
The need for a special ambience was felt as usually specially-abled and autistic children are hyper in nature. They become restless to eat as soon as they step inside any restaurant. Waiters usually take 10-15 minutes to serve the order. But for specially-abled children this is too much of a time.
Bobby approached cafes to make them compatible for special children. Her efforts bore fruit, and five eateries in Lucknow took up the cause.
Café Mocha and Café Wrappers, both located at Patrakarpuram Chauraha in Gomti Nagar; Homeys cafe at Vivek Khand 2, Gomti Nagar; Lucknow Diaries at Madan Mohan Malviya Marg, Hazratganj and Seize The Day at Gokhale Marg, Opposite CID Office, Hazratganj are now better prepared to welcome differently-abled children.
These eateries are ready with helping kits for specially-abled children to keep them busy by the time they serve the food. In fact, serving families of special children on priority basis is also assured by cafe staff. The eateries now have colour pencils, crayons, building-blocks and other creative toys ready. When special kids enter the café, the waiter greets him/her with the kit.
This helps their parents have a good time with kids and also makes their time out enjoyable. The cafes in Gomti Nagar area also have a sticker that will read they are ‘Differently-abled friendly.’ Buoyed by the success, Bobby says, “In the first phase we have already finalised five cafes who have happily agreed to support us and are now differently-abled friendly.” What next? “In the second phase we shall be tagging various other public places like parks, gyms etc,” she said.Meanwhile, Ankit, owner of Mocha in Patrakarpuram said, “The concept is very new in the industry. And as the party session will start with Christmas and New Year celebrations, we hope to make a difference in the life of special kids.”