LIMA — Scrambled eggs are a very big deal to beginning chefs — and an even larger accomplishment to those with autism.So when the eight children at the Great Day Academy Autism Unit at the Allen County Educational Service Center each participate in a cooking project, they're excited about the opportunity to learn something different.The unit is for children in grade kindergarten to seven, and it is for children with a wide range of needs. Some may not be able to care for themselves someday, but some may — and that's why the teachers and aides want to teach cooking skills.Last week, the class made scrambled eggs. Each child cracked his or her egg into bowls set in front of them and stirred their eggs with forks. One at a time, they rose from their chairs and slipped their egg into an electric skillet. Some needed more help than others, but it's the exposure to the idea that's key.Teachers Gwen Johns and Daniele Hurst and teacher's assistants Jayne Hilvers and Jenny Myers said they've made muffins from a mix in the past, no-bake cookies, french toast, even strawberry jam. The students are preparing a meal for a parent luncheon later this week.Student Brandon Parks has especially taken to cooking, asking at various times in class if he can make eggs. He cooked at home for Mother's Day, the teachers explained. Student William Dake, who is deaf, signed he enjoys cooking hot dogs at home. Student Brianna Slechter used a DynaVox, a communication device that “speaks” the word for the picture pressed, to say her favorite foods are cake and cookies.Student Gavin Jenkins leaned in and shared how to make the best scrambled eggs:“Do you want to know our secret recipe? Salt, pepper and non-stick butter spray,” he said.Have a suggestion for who should be featured in this spot? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autistic kids learn life skills in the kitchen