Sioux FallsRapid City

A Place to Learn Independence

The Children’s Care Hospital and School Home Economics room is over 40 years old. It is a wide open room with tile flooring that slopes to a center drain. The cupboards and countertops have seen better days but they still hold the ingredients for cookies, home cooked meals and other treats. Despite the outward appearances of this space, the students love to cook. The classrooms and children who live residentially at Children’s Care use the kitchen during school and during the evenings for recreation time.

“I love the eating!” says 15-year-old Tyler. Last Christmas his classroom began the project of making gingerbread men. All eight boys and their teacher and teaching assistant could not fit into the kitchen and move around so they completed part of their task in their classroom. “We needed more space that was accessible to all the children,” says Allene Flora, Tyler’s teacher. She said they usually mix their meals and baking in the classroom. Then they cover it and take it down the elevator to the lower level area of the school where the home ec classroom is. “We usually use both ovens in the kitchen but the temperatures vary between the two so much we need separate timers,” she said. “It is quite a task to keep track of the kids and the food!” Tyler wants to mix, bake, decorate and of course, eat the gingerbread men all in the same room. And he wants all of his classmates to be able to do it too. “Because of the space not all the students can do all the activities. A student may always be the one who washes the dishes because he can reach the sink,” Allene said.

The plans to remodel the Home Ec room need your help. Consider donating to this project today and give the children a chance to learn independent life skills.

Casey (pictured left) and volunteer Matt begin mixing a batch of cookies while Casey learns about fractions and measuring ingredients.

Casey (pictured left) and volunteer Matt begin mixing a batch of cookies while Casey learns about fractions and measuring ingredients.

Children’s Care Hospital and School teachers and staff are developing a Home Life Skills Center. It will encompass the old home ec room but will serve a much broader purpose. The new kitchen classroom will feature more accessible cabinetry to store small appliances, ingredients and dishes so the children can reach them safely and independently. It will have new ovens and cooktops that allow for safe and easy access for children from all the classrooms. Along with the skills one would normally think happens in a kitchen students will also have the opportunity to learn social skills. There will be tables and booths like you find in a typical restaurant. Children will learn to wait their turns to be seated. They will also learn how to appropriately sit next to someone and how to order from a menu. These are all skills children diagnosed with autism typically struggle with. But they are skills important to living an independent life.

In an age when so many children are obese the students are also learning about healthy eating and food preparation. They learn how to plan a shopping list. Once they return from the grocery store they learn how to prepare a healthy meal. Seeing what a healthy portion looks like is also helpful to children.

Children’s Care prepares children to live as independently as possible. The Home Ec room remodel is a giant step towards helping children succeed. Please help today and give children a chance.

Your gift will be doubled dollar for dollar until August 31 thanks to the generosity of the Children’s Care Hospital and School Auxiliary and staff!

Jessica learns how to crack an egg with the help of her teacher Esther during a lesson in the Home Ec. room.

Jessica learns how to crack an egg with the help of her teacher Esther during a lesson in the Home Ec. room.

Comments (7)

  1. Social Natural wrote:

    Skills like these are essential to everybody. In our society, schools don’t really teaches them because we are expected to pick them up, while academics are given more priorities than life skills. You guys are really doing a great thing.

    Posted 24 Jul 2010 at 9:49 am
  2. Autism help wrote:

    I think what you are doing there is great. As a mother of a child with autism, we can all continue to help get the word out about helping those with autism become more independent and improve their quality of life.

    Posted 27 Jul 2010 at 3:11 pm
  3. Beth wrote:

    The Home Ec facility is a great idea! I can see great things happening from projects like this and others.

    Posted 28 Jul 2010 at 7:49 am
  4. Greg wrote:

    Its always nice to give back to the community. I have done various projects helping the community. I would suggest doing an outdoor cooking. Banana Boats are always easy to make and fun to eat…

    Posted 01 Aug 2010 at 1:43 pm
  5. Cherry Wood Flooring wrote:

    I have friends who’s kids have been diagnosed with autism. I have great respect for those who have the heart and skills to work with these young souls to prepare them for a life in this world.
    You guys are really doing your part to make this world a better place.

    Posted 02 Aug 2010 at 9:34 am
  6. RTA Kitchen Cabinets wrote:

    My nephew was diagnosed with Autism at a very early age, and a program in Virginia (similar to this one) was able help him develop enough to actually attend regular elementary school and he is doing extremely well now. Programs like this should get more exposure and their success stories should be shared.

    Posted 06 Aug 2010 at 12:30 pm
  7. Edie Mindell wrote:

    School Home Economics room with its superb facilities is a great place for children to learn basic skills in home economics. I applaud the staffs and teachers for reaching out to the community. Such big hearts.:-) Thanks.

    Posted 07 Aug 2010 at 9:07 pm

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"Our family is extremely grateful for all of Mason's therapists and the staff at Children's Care. Everyone goes above and beyond their call of duty to empower Mason and our family to develop and maximize his potential. Thank you Children's Care for being a part of our family and support system. We couldn't do it without you."
– Tim M., Parent