This summer, ABLE will launch a 'Little Chefs' Program for your little one! Cooking is a fantastic way for children with ASD to explore their senses and much more, and what better way than to cook with friends?
What will our Little Chefs learn through our cooking program?
Social Skills! Children with ASD are typically more isolated than other children as they may avoid social interaction or don't have the skills to engage others. Since socialisation is a two-way process, it makes it hard for children with ASD to express themselves as with others to understand them. However, participation in group activities is the first step forward to socialize with others. As a little chef, they need to work cooperatively, express themselves regarding their wishes, and strike up a conversation. Our program is a safe space and everyone will learn to make friends at a comfortable pace!
Fine motor skills training! Many children with ASD may struggle with their fine motor skill. Cooking will involve actions like kneading dough, rolling rice, cutting and using cutlery to allow children to acquire fine muscle control through the process.
Imitation is an fundamental skill in learning to learn. Children will have to be more socially aware of others in terms of their actions and emotional responses. Large part of cooking process is to copy the instructor or friends so they can successfully produce a delicious meal!
Listening skills! As previously mentioned, cooking a meal is not an easy process and require many steps. Not only will the instructor build up compliance at the workspace such as 'Look here.' or 'Stop what you are doing.' Instructor will deliver simple instructions such as 'Put on your apron', 'Get one apple' etc. So little chefs must ensure they are fully attentive and have their listening ears on to avoid missing a step!
Turn-taking and sharing! Through cooking, children will have the opportunity to engage in turn-taking activities and share with others. Some ingredients and utensils will be shared so they will learn to ask and wait patiently for their friends to finish before their turns. Not to mention, it is also a great joy to share food with friends!
Language skills - Cooking allows them to add many new vocabularies into their language bank and learn sentence structures. They will talk about their food's taste and appearance, learn to ask questions and converse casually with friends.
Sensory experience! Our little chefs will explore using their five senses to understand more about their surroundings. The sight of ingredients, smell and aroma of food, sound of kneading or cutting, touch of the dough and taste of pudding. Children with ASD may be shy to new experiences and it's not uncommon to them to have aversive reactions towards different textures, smells or tastes. Hence little chefs are encouraged to try and overcome their fears!
Complete activities by following steps! Cooking involves completing each step on by one in order to make our favorite food! During cooking, Little Chefs will gain understanding that things don't suddenly appear but requires a thorough making process. They will have a chance to work on their organization, sequencing skill and logical thinking. Meanwhile, the delicious food they make does not only stimulate their palates but gives a sense of achievement and enhance self-esteem. Persistence in an activity from start to finish is a vital component in success!