It’s important to think ahead when you are organising a day out with an autistic person.

Here, we look at planning ahead, evidence of disability, eating out and the National Key Scheme.

Planning ahead

Many autistic people need preparing for change and this will also apply to days out.

Plan ahead by contacting where you are visiting to ask what support is available for autistic people. Most tourist attractions are very happy to accommodate visitors with additional needs, some will publish special guides or even go out of their way to offer helps and support.  

Evidence of disability

Many tourist attractions will need evidence of a disability and care needs before they will offer concessions. This is particularly true for people on the autism spectrum who may have invisible needs. The best person to ask to provide this evidence is probably your GP. If you are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Carers' Allowance, take a copy of the award letter with you. It may also be useful to have a copy of any letter which states the diagnosis.

Eating out

If eating out can be difficult, then think ahead and book a restaurant in advance. Many restaurants now have a menu for people with special diets. Most chains should be able to provide you with details of the ingredients of their products so you can check they are safe.

When booking, ask about seating, is there a quieter area of the restaurant that you can sit in? What is the lighting and décor like? Is there anything that is likely to trigger a sensory difference.

National Key Scheme

If you are planning a day out with an autistic person then you may need an accessible toilet.

Disabled toilets are helpful, but you may need a Radar Key from the National Key Scheme (NKS). You can also buy a Region List, giving details of disabled toilets in the area you’re visiting.

There are also smart phone apps.

Further help from our charity

Autism Friendly Award holders
Holidays: preparation and practicalities
Autism Services Directory

Last reviewed: 27 February 2018.