For those living with autism, certain life skills are challenging, including cooking. Some struggle with certain sensory aversions while others find it difficult to follow detailed instructions (i.e. following a recipe).
Unfortunately, a lack of interest and skill in the kitchen can lead to an unhealthy, imbalanced diet. That is why at the Adult Autism Center, we have created a program that allows individuals to develop culinary skills, as well as a better understanding of the relationship between the foods they eat and their overall health.
When it comes to optimal health, everyone needs to know how to make a good meal, and those with autism are no exception. Our program helps bridge the gap between this beneficial life skill and the impact it has on our clients’ health and overall independence.
Adults with autism often seek greater independence. However, in order to sustain a healthy lifestyle, they must first learn how to prepare nutrient-dense meals. Through this program, clients learn to identify healthy foods to prepare, as well as the ingredients needed, the steps required to prepare that chosen meal, and then how to actually prepare healthy foods.
The core benefits of this program include expanding food preferences, increased knowledge of a healthy diet, as well as daily living skills. The culinary kitchen at the Adult Autism Center is also used to produce baked goods to sell at local businesses, boutiques, farmer’s markets, and at the center — which is a highly rewarding and encouraging experience. The ultimate goal here is to increase each client’s level of independence so that they can meet their daily needs.
In addition to developing this basic life skill, our culinary program also encourages clients to build social skills. The goal is to help these individuals feel more comfortable around others, and more specifically, share a meal with friends.
Like all of our programs, we take a customized approach. Our team will select what meals are being discussed and prepared based on each client’s diet, interests, and level of independence.
Since autism is often associated with picky eating, this program is an excellent way to help our clients explore new foods in a comfortable, controlled environment. We encourage our clients to try new ingredients, focusing on healthy meals that are made from scratch. Whether our clients live in their family home, in an independent or semi-independent living arrangement, they can take these skills with them wherever they go.
Each client will be able to participate at whatever ability level is appropriate for them. The level of support needed and the level of independence will be monitored by staff to ensure that each client gets the most of the program.
This program begins with recipes that are easy to prepare. Gradually, as clients’ capabilities improve, we offer the opportunity to learn more complicated cooking techniques. However, we never make lessons too challenging.
Placement will depend on what each individual likes to do and/or what they want to learn. We work closely with each client, as well as their caregivers, to better understand what they wish to get out of the program.
Although we may collectively make meals as a group, each individual will be assigned a specific task based on their skill level and interests. We continuously offer new opportunities to learn and grow, encouraging our clients to practice valuable skills in the kitchen.
Progress will be measured by increased independence in preparing the meals and/or baked goods. Staff will collect data to monitor progress and make modifications to programming as appropriate.
Like all of our programs, the culinary program is intended to help adults with autism live a more independent, healthy, and fulfilling life. This program moves at a pace that works for each individual, ensuring the highest level of success.
To enroll in our culinary program, all you need to do is reach out to our team. We encourage you to fill out our referral form so that we can learn more about you or your loved one. We strive to get to know our clients on a more personal level so that we ensure the best possible placement.
Do you have a loved one or family member that would benefit from one of our programs?
Fill out the form below and refer them today!