An Autism Connection

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Community based Instruction-McDonald's

At the beginning of the school year, I asked families for donations for the classroom and for $25 to be used in the community to practice money skills, etc. Not one person sent in money. I asked again, and nothing. Some of my families are low income but not all. So, not sure what I did wrong here, or if there's a different way to approach this, so if anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears. My original intent was to be able to purchase food for some small cooking activities,  purchase a meal, or to visit the dollar store. Basically activities that would have the student understand money and use it appropriately when out in the community. With no money,  I had to rethink what  we were going to do while we were out there.

We ended up going out into the community regularly, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, except when the weather was awful. But we've had some good weather recently and have ventured forth. I have done a variety of things with them while we were out. We practiced looking for our community signs, crossing the street safely, doing scavenger hunts in a variety of businesses, going to the library, our local community garden, and just going to the park to enjoy some relaxation. The students enjoy these activities and love it when they see the community PEC signs on their schedules. It ended up working out just fine.

This past week we had beautiful weather with temperatures in the 80s. If you know anything about Seattle, you know that is hot for us. The thought of going out anywhere in these sizzling  warm temperatures when we're not used to it was not a fun thought. I couldn't think of one thing any of us would want to do until I thought of ice cream cones. There is a McDonalds not too far from the school and I asked the kids if they wanted to go there for our next outing. Sheer excitement. At first I thought just ice cream but they have a dollar menu (and since I was paying, that was the menu we were going to use) and I have some students that are incredibly picky about food, so I thought I would let them pick.  I made this page with icons for them to choose what they wanted to get ahead of time and to practice ordering. Since we were doing it the next day, I didn't work with them on money. But it was relatively cheap, so I will do it again before school is out, and we'll practice with the next dollar strategy. Here is the menu I came up with. I got the idea from someone's blog and I searched for it but couldn't find it. If you know whose it is, please let me know so I can give them credit.

The outing went very well and the students did a great job. We had fun and I look forward to doing it again shortly. If you want a copy of this, I have saved it on google doc in a format so that you can change it to another restaurant, if you need to. I put velcro in the middle to store the symbols, and the sentence, "I want...Please",  goes on the bottom. There's enough space there for ordering up to 3 different items.


  1. Jannike I love that you did this with your students. My class is going with our buddies in the life skills room across the hall next week to Pizza Hut! We are riding the city bus, getting our lunch, and heading to the park. I am thankful that our district is willing to pay for this trip for our students. No chance that your district might give you money for next year to do these kinds of things? Just a thought!

    1. I have a generous budget, but since I am a start up program, there are still many curriculum items I need to purchase. We go out into the community twice a week so the money adds up. I have used all my funds for this school year ($1700 or so) on needed items so we are tapped out. In the future, I can do this, but to do this now would be really expensive. Have fun on your trip!