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Dining experience for families with autistic children opens in DuBois

A dining experience for families with autistic and special needs children opened its doors in Clearfield County. (WJAC)

DUBOIS - A dining experience for families with autistic and special needs children opened its doors in Clearfield County.

The Little Caring Caboose is located at the Depot at Doolittle's on Rich Highway in DuBois.

Owner Dr. Jeffrey Rice said through his practice, he sees the challenges families with special needs children face.

"It's tough on the families because they can't really go out in public that often," Rice said. "I came up with the idea to have a caboose at the rail station for special needs and autistic kids. Children love trains and cabooses."

Rice said the car provides a private, quiet eating environment without the noise and usual distractions at a typical restaurant.

"Whatever the reason may be that someone can't go out to eat, whether it is dementia or autism, this will be a place to come," Manager RJ Cielo said. "The caboose can make them feel comfortable and they can enjoy food in a fun and different atmosphere."

The Depot prepares the food orders and has it ready for when families arrive to avoid a wait time.

Cielo said they can also accommodate for any special dietary needs.

Rice said since opening, the Little Caring Caboose had one local family dine in the car.

"It was really touching," Rice said. "It was actually the first time they've ever been able to go out with their child."

To make a reservation, call Dr. Doolittle's Roadside Cafe at 814-299-7924.

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