Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
This is a wonderful accessory for all households with someone on the Autism Spectrum. Visual Recipes: A Cookbook For Non-Readers by Tabitha Orth will be front and center in the kitchen for frequent perusal. This spiral-bound book packs 105 pages of step-by-step directions on how to get around in the kitchen and make the simplest of items independently.
This is not just marketed to those on the autism spectrum, but for any developmental disability. Although it is designed for children between the ages of three to ten I can share that the summer camp my children attend have a hard copy of this book and make copies of the pages for their cooking sessions. The camp serves those between the ages of 4-17.
"Each aspect of the design and formatting of Visual Recipes is supporting a deficit while at the same time utilizing a strength. The breakdown of each recipe, which includes many steps that might seem unnecessary to some, creates a unique format that allows a student to become independent in the kitchen with greater confidence and ease."
There is a section at the beginning of the book that includes an introduction, understanding your cooking student's learning style, tips and tricks and color coding your kitchen. The table of contents includes:
Breakfast, Lunch, Side Dishes, Snacks, Desserts and Drinks. Some of the visual recipes are:
Ore Ida Golden Patties
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Corn Dog in Microwave
Franco American Spaghetti
Ore Ida Tater Tots
Popcorn in Microwave
Duncan Hines Cupcakes
Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate
Lipton Ice Tea
I like how the brands are shown and mentioned in this book. Those on the autism spectrum are very particular in what brand they will eat and having the actual visual to the product that is utilized in the home is a welcome added bonus to Visual Recipes: A Cookbook For Non-Readers. The author has a son named Matthew who has a service dog and is homeschooled.
Several years ago there was an incident at Camp where Nicholas burned his hand on the hot plate. He has never really gotten over that, which resulted in a fear/avoidance of the stove. He is getting more comfortable with the microwave. I like how the grilled cheese recipe visualizes using both the toaster and then the microwave, which would be more suitable for Nicholas. At first the two pages filled with steps looked a bit overwhelming, until we went over it and he realized it moves quickly along. I will be incorporating more of these recipes once Matthew starts the fall school session since Nicholas will be using California Virtual Academy at home. With Matthew not in the same room it will be easier to focus on teaching Nicholas these skills.
The french fries two page demonstration uses the same techniques we do and even shows the oven mitts that Matthew loves. When I opened the book up to this page he started touching the picture with the oven mitts. I am just glad we found Ore Ida Microwave Fries for the times when using an oven is not an option.
The twelve steps to heat up a leftover slice of pizza consist of:
Heating a slice of Pizza
get a slice of pizza
put on plate
put on microwave
press power button
shows bell on microwave ringing
take out of microwave
The first picture for every recipe shows the finished product and then goes to the right and down to finish the page before moving to the second page. There are some blank pages in the book between recipes which is very suitable for notes or if you want to add a picture of your child making the item or with the finished results.
I first learned of Visual Recipes: A Cookbook For Non-Readers from reading a post recently on Autism Vox and ordered it immediately. While the book is more geared toward my nonverbal son Matthew, I am starting off with Nicholas who is 13 and high functioning. The photos help give him the confidence and reinforcement that he can cook and prepare some meals on his own and become more self-sufficient.
Use Visual Strategies
Yum Yum Studios - DVDs that motivate children to eat Fruits & Vegetables
cookz - eat, share and be loved
Cooking for Engineers Recipe File
An Introduction to Visual Schedule Systems
Instructables - exploring food, DIY and How to's.
Open Source Food - browse, create and share recipes with photos
MakingPECSCards yahoo group I run where we share picture cards and CDs. There are files with cooking demonstrations and photos of food items.
Picture Schedule Samples