For special needs kids, dining out is a functional activity that requires a little practice ahead of time. The dining out experience builds vocabulary such as restaurant, menu, waiter/waitress, check, etc. In addition, students can build semantic relations with their new words as they learn to “sit at the table,” “study the menu,” “place an order,” and “pay the check” while they learn appropriate behavior for eating out.
In this dining out exercise students were shown a series of specific photographs (via an iPad) of a individuals at a restaurant. The pictures modeled actions such as, being seated at a table, reading a menu, placing an order, eating, and paying the check.
Students were then invited to “eat out” at “Jose’s Mexican Café” where they were welcomed by a hostess who seated them at a table. The table “set-up” included salt, pepper (I put tape over the holes), sugar packets and holder, napkin, plastic knife and fork, and a “basket of chips” made from an old manila folder cut into triangles and bent to resemble tortilla chips. Students were approached by a “waitress” who gave them a simple menu from which they chose a food item and beverage. The waitress brought cups (empty) as their drinks and “tacos” from the Melissa and Doug Taco & Burrito set. At the end of their pretend meal students were given a “check” secured from a restaurant ticket book and some fake money to pay it. The menu was generated using clip art and product images in a simple Word document.
Submitted by Lamar University Speech-Language Pathology graduate clinicians Wendy Lanier and Jenna Lappi.