One of the skills most desired by parents of children with autism is that of learning to wait patiently. Of course, it is difficult for any child to develop patience. However, in order for children with autism to learn to wait patiently it is often necessary to teach this skill with a "waiting program." Waiting is a particularly desirable skill. Without the ability to wait patiently it is difficult to go in public places such as restaurants, stores or any place where standing in line is necessary. Children with autism may learn to wait patiently by mastering a program like this one by PECS (the Picture Exchange Communication System) that follows: In order to begin the waiting program, the parent will simply state "wait" in a calm tone. The parent will then hand the child a large red oval- shaped card with the word "wait" printed on it. The child will accept the card and hold it in his hand briefly. This will be for only one second at first. Then the parent praises the child and takes the card back. This is practiced in the house at first, not in social environments for quite some time. As the waiting program is practiced each day the parent will gradually lengthen the time. This will occur systematically, as in one second the first day, two seconds the second day. Also, in addition to praise the parent may offer the child some other small prize as the waiting time becomes longer gradually. Each day the parent is able to lengthen the waiting time, the red oval-shaped "wait" card should be cut down smaller and smaller. Ultimately, it will be an inconspicuous little red dot. At this point, the parents can venture into McDonald's (not during the lunch rush obviously.) It is best to accustom the child to restaurants in off- hours when the restaurant will not exhibit so much noise and distraction that could be scary and distracting to the child. When skills like learning to wait quietly are mastered, it is a great triumph for the child and the family too. Life becomes far less restrictive. Many children with autism can and do venture into restaurants and stores and behave appropriately. In addition to going to stores and restaurants during off- hours at first, also make sure the total duration of the trip is not too long for the child. In other words, it may be fine to stop in for a quick dinner but the child may become overwhelmed if the meal has too many courses. Use discretion so the child does not become overwhelmed. A quick successful trip out to dinner is way better than a long one that ends on a bad note. The above program is highly recommended and is available at www.pecs.com. PECS program offers the great benefit of teaching children with autism to wait patiently. It is the beginning of freedom for the child, because as this skill is mastered, the child may successfully venture into more fun and social environments.