Functional Skills

This article, entitled "Functional Skills," comes from Cathy B. at Bountiful Plate.

The other morning for breakfast, Dominic decided he wanted a banana. As he pulled one off the bunch, he handed it to me because he wanted me to peel it for him. I told him to do it and he looked blankly at me. I had never taught him how to peel a banana!! Well, I quickly rectified that!!

When the hubby went to the "Curriculum Night" earlier this week for Dominic, he came back and told me that his new teacher said she was going to spend some time on having the kids learn "functional" skills. The kids in his class already have a bit of a head start with that, because Mr. Paul, his old teacher, taught them how to wash dishes, water plants, and rake leaves, among other skills.

Before Lauren left for college, she gave Dominic "lessons" in setting the table. One thing I realized I hadn't taught Dominic to do, was when he is finished eating, he needs to tell the hubby or I, "may I be excused, please?"

Lauren asked that question all the way up until she turned 18! It's taking a bit of practice, but he is asking at least 50% of the time now. My goal by the end of September is for him to be doing it 100%!

This past Tuesday night, I made a meatloaf and usually I have taken a slice and cut it up into bite-sized pieces for him. This time, I gave him a knife and fork and showed him what to do. He started crying, not because of frustration, but because I kept correcting him. He wanted to do it completely by himself, with NO help from me!

An important area that Dominic has thrived in has been working along side me in the kitchen. Wednesday morning, before he got on the bus, I told him to think about what kind of cookie he wanted to make when he got home from school. The options for cookies were: peanut butter and chocolate, chocolate and oatmeal or sugar. The minute Dominic walked in our front door after school Wednesday afternoon, before I could even open my mouth to ask him about his cookie "selection," he said, "sugar cookies!"

In eight years, Dominic will be an adult. I am realistic and know that he may always be living with us. I recently heard about a bakery down in Georgia called Special Kneads and Treats that employs special needs adults (one of them being the owner's son). Children with special needs become adults with special needs and many will want to have a job.

Just in the seven and half years since Dominic was diagnosed with Autism, he has made so much progress. He has made his First Holy Communion and goes to church with us, has been potty trained and learned how to read. These were three major things that at one time, I never thought possible.

My dream would be to one day open a bakery here in the Midwest and employ special needs adults. I've already been in touch with a local cooking school and I'm hoping to work with the owner in getting cooking classes for special needs children and adults. With the right amount of guidance, love and patience I know it can be done! The "graduates" would be my future employees. Good idea, huh?

Given that Dominic is a great-great grandson of a baker, it's in his "genetic makeup." I think it would be awesome to have my boy working in a bakery. Who could resist buying a cookie "with a few sprinkles" from him?!?!?

About the Author...
Cathy B
Cathy is a homemaker, wife and mother to a son with special needs, an adult daughter and stepmom to an adult son.

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