Autism Eats

Rising Star:

Autism Eats, recognized as a Rising Star, is located in Boston, Massachusetts. As a non-profit entity, it has organized more than 150 shared respite events across the country since it began 7 years ago. Persons of any age with autism along with their caregivers, families and friends may gather together to share a meal and dining experience at a local restaurant. Autism Eats provides guidance to restaurant staff in ways to prepare a welcoming space for families –– “Autism 101 Training” –– including: adjusting lights and music for those with sensory sensitivities; offering a prepared buffet meal so that families may choose menu items and avoid waiting for service; and offering choices of communal or individual seating, for example. Sensory toys are made available, and special guests –– Santa, First Responders, Magicians, and the Boston Red Sox Mascot, Wally, have been known to visit Autism Eats events. Families pay for their affordable meal in advance, and those families unable to pay may participate at no cost. About 70 percent of families attend more than one Autism Eats event. Website