Couples enjoying lunch in a busy restaurant

I wish I could have dinner on a plate that I could manage  

These days so many dietary requirements are catered for such as vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher. It would be awesome if each IDDSI level was catered for too by cafes, restaurants, airlines, and food delivery services. It would literally change the lives of people with swallowing difficulties.  

You may be thinking you must be dreaming! However, I think this is totally achievable.  

The more people that are aware of the need I am sure they will accommodate.  

I have had many positive experiences with cafés and restaurants. The café opposite my work knows I need a straw with my coffee and serviettes and they know if I order food that I need it cut up. I no longer have to ask, they just do it.  

I went to a new restaurant with my parents a couple months ago. The head waiter asked if i needed a straw and if a spoon would be easier. It is little things like this that make my day because I am seeing that society is becoming more inclusive.        

Education and exposure are key to restaurants and cafés becoming more inclusive.  One way forward is to develop an education package for hospitality staff about how to modify meals to the various IDDSI levels. Maybe it can be included in TAFE courses. The same is also applicable to airline caterers and food delivery services.  

Equally important is that people with swallowing difficulties continue to access hospitality venues and to make their needs to staff known.