Students from the K-2 team recently had a lesson in dining out with assistance from LGS Speech-Language Pathologist Laura Detzel and Occupational Therapist Abby McKenzie.
Students took turns donning an apron and chef’s hat to play the role of waiter. The waiter then asked each customer, “Please, can I take your order?” and the customers ordered from a prepared menu of pretzels, goldfish and marshmallows. (Marshmallows were the most popular item on the menu that day, though goldfish were a close second!)
One of the main focuses of the activity was teaching dramatic play. Students took on different roles (waiter and customer) and acted out the restaurant scenario from different perspectives. This type of pretend play often does not come naturally for students with autism; role playing helps teach them how to imagine being something/someone else.
Another focus was using language to interact with their peers; visual cues were used to help the “waiter” take orders and the “customers” place their order using complete sentences.
And, as anyone who has spent any time serving food at home or in a restaurant knows, balancing trays of food and serving food onto customer plates encourages the development of gross and fine motor skills.
This in-school dining out experience will be followed to a field trip to Frisch’s where students will have a change to practice placing their orders and behaving appropriately when dining out.
Thank you to Mrs. Detzel, Miss McKenzie and the K-2 team staff for this effective and fun learning opportunity!