I have to update you on our first real restaurant outing. It's taken a long time to get enough courage to try this, but we went to a local Red Robin. See my restaurant guide about how to find a GFCF place. Anyway, it went remarkably well. The restaurant did very well. They didn't give a confused look when I asked to see a gluten-free menu. They immediately handed the kids crayons and a coloring sheet to keep them busy. They got their own water cups with kid-friendly designs on them -- even lids to help avoid "the spill." We just got plain burgers and fries with ketchup for them and they loved it. When we first sat down and the waiter arrived, my oldest turned to him and said, "Hey, where are my fries?" It was funny and he took well. He also paid close attention while ordering from the gluten-free menu. We definitely will return.
Please, I'm not posting this to preach. I realize not everyone with autism can handle this type of outing. I'm simply posting this because it was a big step for us. I also wanted to point out that some businesses -- even at a national level -- seem to have found ways to include those of us concerned about GFCF, food intolerances and cross-contact issues. It can be done.