Celebrating Autism Awareness Month, Tiny Chefs is Fun in the Kitchen for Kids of All Abilities

We offer tips and tricks for guiding students with autism in a Tiny Chefs class.

autism awareness month ribbon

During Autism Awareness month, our Tiny Chefs instructors have shared some of their tips and tricks for guiding students of all abilities through a successful cooking class in the kitchen.

We asked the mother of Luke, a student with autism who has returned to Tiny Chefs summer camps, what he has taken away from our classes and what is important to her when considering camps and classes for her son.

“He enjoyed learning the steps for cooking and making new friends. He especially loved decorating cupcakes and participating in cupcake wars. It is important (to) us as parents for Luke to be included with his peers as much as possible, and participate in integrated camps and social settings. Tiny Chefs took the time to support Luke and break down the cooking steps to accommodate his needs. We would highly recommend the camp to children of all abilities who enjoy cooking.”

Looking for ways to help your child with autism thrive in the kitchen? Our instructors have shared useful techniques and strategies they have learned in the classroom to help students stay on task and more importantly, have fun!

  • Short and Sweet: Long strings of verbal instructions can be overwhelming to anybody! When trying to keep our students with autism focused on the task at hand, it is helpful if the directions put forth by instructors are clear and concise.
  • Visual Aids: When breaking down the individual steps of a recipe, providing visual aids to our students with autism can be beneficial to assisting them with the lesson. They are able to visualize each step of the recipe instead of being distracted by the bigger picture of the recipe as a whole. We find this to be a successful technique, and the student leaves with a stronger learning experience.
  • Minimized Sensory Overload: Students often feed off the energy of an instructor, so presenting the class in a calm and structured manner can set the right tone for the class. Reducing the amount of distractions provides all participants, no matter what level of ability in the kitchen, an enjoyable and successful time with Tiny Chefs.
  • Buddy System: It is important for our students with autism to feel included and equal to their peers. We also like to celebrate our older, more experienced chefs by allowing them to assist students that may need additional help (younger, etc.). Our goal is to encourage teamwork and social experiences with fellow peers so that each student gains the confidence and independence in the kitchen, taking away skills they will use for life!