Snack time is also learning time for these students

Mendoza Rodriguez checks his work before delivering snacks to the teachers at Lee Elementary (photo courtesy of TK Schools)

As students in Victoria Damico’s autism spectrum disorder class made their way down the halls of Lee Elementary, delivering snacks to teachers, they left each classroom with the same message: “Thank you for your order. Have a nice day.”

Taking part in the activity that focused on communication skills, each teacher at Lee Elementary turned in picture-based order sheets for snacks. The students then went down an assembly line and filled each bag with the teacher’s order. After all the orders were filled, the students delivered the items and read a script, thanking teachers for their orders.

Tristan Paustan works on the snack packaging activity with teacher Victoria Damico (photo courtesy of TK Schools)

“My students with autism have a wide range of verbal, academic and adaptive skills,” Damico said. “I want to provide my students with real life experiences to help grow their daily living skills, fine motor skills, functional math skills, and functional reading skills.”

The students were assisted by Lee Elementary’s speech language pathologist, John Pearson, and classroom aides Shauna Fenton and Kelley Lieckfield.

Damico plans to do this exercise several times a month with students to practice skills, and branch out on certain elements as students become more proficient.

“The snack cart was a big success,” Damico said. “Our students and staff both loved it and we will definitely continue to offer this to the wonderful teachers of TK.”

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Hannah Lentz
A 2017 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a lifelong teacher’s kid, Hannah Lentz has worked as a journalist in and outside the Grand Rapids area for more than five years. After serving as editor-in-chief at the GVSU student newspaper, Hannah interned at the Leelanau Enterprise where she learned a lot about community journalism. In addition to her work for School News Network, Hannah has worked as a freelance blogger in the furniture industry, focusing on design trends, and as a social media manager for World Medical Relief in Detroit. Read Hannah's full bio or email Hannah.

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