Coming Soon! The Sensory-Friendly Section of your Favorite Restaurant

It feels like we sensory defensive adults only have two options: deal with the crazy overwhelming world the way it is or keep a safe distance away.

Imagine there was a restaurant in your neighborhood that had a special spot for sensitive people, a section of the restaurant out of the main traffic area. Imagine it had natural lighting and excellent acoustics. There would be a button on the table you could press when you wanted service. When you didn’t have your service button pressed the wait staff would leave you alone. There would be noise rules for this little section of the restaurant:

  • please speak quietly
  • please take your upset child outside until she is calm enough to return
  • please don’t take calls on your cell phone

Would you reserve a table in this restaurant? Would you wait an extra fifteen minutes to be seated in the “sensory-friendly” section?

I would!

If it had decent food and service and wasn’t exorbitantly priced, it would be my ‘favorite restaurant.’

I’d want to go there every time.

I’d tell everyone.

And when my friends asked, I’d say, “Yes! I’d love to meet you for dinner, at my ‘favorite restaurant.’”

Do you know how many restaurants start up every year? Do you know how many fail before the year is out?

Either do I.

But I know it’s a lot. Maybe 75%? (Somebody ought to look this up and tell me :)

…but specific facts aside…

Many restaurants fail every year. Good regular customers are hard to find. I think  having a “sensory-friendly section” that catered to a loyal portion of their clientele could be a huge advantage to a restaurant.

But how many restaurant investors even have a clue that sensory defensive people exist?

I believe we, sensory defensives, can change that. I believe we can create sensory-friendly options in our communities: in entertainment venues, work environments and shopping outlets.

The first thing we have to do is imagine a world where there are options.

I am old enough to remember when breathing second hand smoke was not a choice, you simply did it whether you wanted to or not. People smoked everywhere. If you had a problem with second-hand smoke it was your problem, not the smoker’s problem. As the dangers of second hand smoke became known, concerned people banded together and spoke out, options sprang up. “Smoke-free environments” came into being in restaurants, hotels and workplaces. When the marketplace discovered that non-smokers flocked to these environments, more were built. It became a market phenomenon.

And now smoking is banned in most commercial venues.

We can’t (and I don’t think we should want to) ban loud noise, harsh light and noxious odors. The neurotypicals seem to like it.

But I want sensational people to have options!

We don’t have to petition congress or pass and enforce regulations. That’s the good thing about capitalism. If we let vendors know we want it and are willing to pay for it, they will provide it.

So what do we sensory defensives have to do?

  • hang out together, on line is fine (often the best option since there is no place I know of that caters to us – yet)
  • fantasize
  • talk to each other about what we want
  • tell as many people as possible about our needs
  • flock in droves, credit cards in hand, to vendors willing to cater to us

I think if enough of us do this, we will be surprised how quickly the world will change.

Thanks for being here and reading my blog.
If you have suggestions or comments, I would love to hear them.
You can comment here or on the Sensorina Facebook page.


6 Replies to “Coming Soon! The Sensory-Friendly Section of your Favorite Restaurant”

  1. love love your blog ! I am a mother of a 4yr old spd ( i’m sure there more diagnosis that is needed ) child and since she was born I knew something wasn’t right , she loves to go to star bucks and just sit never understood why until ready this portion of your blog . Thanks for all the info you give I just wish people understood more about spd I hate that comments that i’m a horrible mother she just needs spanked in the grocery , restaurants , or going in public period ! I have actually become an axious person

    1. Thank you for the words of support! They mean so much to me. We are getting the information out. Our blogs, facebook posts, and comments like yours help tell the world about SPD. I think by the time Trinity is an adult, SPD will be well known and people who criticize overwhelmed parents will be viewed as very unenlightened and/or abusive.

  2. Yes, I would LOVE to see more people aware of SPD and especially vendors – what a fantastic idea!!

    I would definitely go to a restaurant like this, and hope to see this happen in my lifetime. It’s all about getting the message out, and what better way than facebook :)

    Thanks for your blog!

  3. Thanks for your thoughtful comment Dee! Yes, Facebook is an excellent platform for getting the word out. If you haven’t already, please “like” the Sensorina facebook page. And if you have, I invite you to comment often. Not only does it make me very happy :) but the more people that interact on pages and blogs that focus on SPD the more “friends” get clued into the message, “sensitive adults are everywhere!”

  4. I am so happy I stumbled across your blog! I am a graduate occupational therapy student and passionate about all things sensory! I myself have ADHD and am finding out more and more….SPD. Your posts have helped me identify so many of my unexplained behaviors. Thank you four sharing and advocating for Adults with SPD. You are an incredible role model and advocate. I am a fan.

  5. I am seeking a list of sensory issue friendly place to eat and drink per city. Like vegetarians already have easily collected on particular websites. So I don’t have to wait 20 min to get it to a particular place of only to leave because once inside the music is too loud (not live music venue, just crazy loup music on top of out echo place claiming to be nice restaurant). .does such a site exist? If not,let’s start one!

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