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Cooking with Special Needs

By Brian Grien CLE Davie

Cooking fearsAs we move into the fall semester, challenges present themselves with the ever-changing student and their abilities to navigate in the kitchen. Several current students, as well as those in the past, have expressed trepidation when faced with such tasks as cooking on the stovetop. These fears are realized by the impending thought of getting splashed with hot oil during a session of sautéing or pan-frying while attending cooking appointments.

As an instructor, sleuthing becomes necessary when offering the best possible service and instruction to a student weary of the dreaded stove. Over the past several years, students were adorned with oven mitts and clad in chef’s coats while cooking on the stovetop. Even with the additional protection of added articles of clothing, the fear of being sprayed with sizzling fat is too much to bear for some of our students, that the task of cooking at the stovetop seems insurmountable.

Once problems are identified, the next logical step is to present solutions. Within our population, we must cater to strengths, identify challenges, and modify accordingly. For the reluctant stovetop user, the ability to achieve similar results on the stovetop, can be replicated in the oven. One student in particular absolutely refused to participate in the realm of the stovetop. I realized I would need to adapt to her skill set by allaying her fears. This was accomplished by letting the student know that we can achieve the desired Grocery shopping with special needsresults while using a different method. The skill of baking our proteins in the protection of a sealed oven was introduced to this student, while building her confidence and skill set.

Additionally, other challenges manifest themselves in the environment of the mighty super market. New students are typically overwhelmed by the sheer mass of countless grocery store products in a never-ending sea of shopping aisles, torn between purchases of what Mom used to cook and impulse-driven desires. The instructor’s role to guide students towards practical shopping practices is also tempered by the observed skill levels of varying students. This need and identification translates to the real-world purchases that students are encouraged to make based upon their overall well-being and aptitude to succeed.

Students are prompted to purchase groceries based on a weekly schedule and assistance can include calculating quantities of food regarding the number of meals eaten per week and budgetary Cooking with special needslimitations. Students are also introduced to sale items and department and product locations within the establishment. Once students feel grounded and familiar within their environments, the real progress starts as barriers of unfamiliarity are gradually removed. Students feel empowered by their own decision making process while shopping for groceries, which subsequently are used during their cooking exploration. Group cooking appointments present students with a basic skill set intended to carry the students throughout their lives in their own apartments as well as when embarking upon independence outside of the support system of CLE.

Newsletter Articles – September 2015

walk daily for exercise

While many people see counselors for depression, studies suggest that you should also be seeing a personal trainer. In 2009, The Harvard Medical School launched a review of multiple studies on the effect of exercise in those with mild to severe depression and found a strong link between physical activity and the treatment of this mental health issue. Even if someone has never had depression, having a regular exercise routine can help prevent it from ever starting.


Sleep. Exercise. Eat well. Gratitude. Be yourself. Forgiveness. All components of a healthy and happy life.


Healthy lifestyle: being able to do what is right for myself, my body, and when I can get that done it leads to a healthy mind and healthy relationships.

Drink water for better health

For a young adult with learning challenges, maintaining health may not be at the forefront of daily decisions. Here are a few tips for a healthy outlook.

Asger - new school, new life

I missed another homework assignment. Now there are two days left to make up seven of them, runs through my head. My eyes glaze over as the panic felt after school yesterday culminates further. Already at the point of surrendering to failure in my classes, my thoughts turn to my parents and how they’ll react. Their responses were heard three months later, and nothing could prepare me for what they’d say.

I’m sitting and chatting idly in the living room with my parents, when I notice a prolonged moment of silence.
“We’ve decided you’re going to a new school,” Dad finally announces. “You’ll be boarding there within the next two weeks,” he finished.

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This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.