Today my son, who has high functioning autism served dessert to a steady line of teachers and staff at Mrs. C’s Café. The café was located in Mrs. C’s mildly-impaired classroom at my son’s elementary school. The featured item on today’s menu was spaghetti. My little chef served the dessert (chocolate dipped pretzels with sprinkles, which he helped to make yesterday).
Salad and a drink also came with the meal that cost $5. Proceeds from the café will be used for a class field trip that the students get to choose. (Winter break begins this Friday, so the trip will have to wait.) The class used the funds from the October café to visit a local pumpkin patch. The trip included riding in a hay-filled wagon, picking a pumpkin and having donuts and cider.
I first learned about Mrs. C’s monthly (well almost monthly) café during Parent Night back in September when the school year first started. It sounded like an ingenious plan to meet several different Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals all at once. For Mrs. C’s Café, students create and deliver invitations, wrap up dining utensils in napkins, prep food as needed, handle the money involved, set tables, greet and serve their guests. The café’s patrons are coached by Mrs. C and her three aides to make sure students make eye contact.
When I picked my son up from school today, Mrs. C. told me he did a great job making eye contact, which has been difficult in the past. She also said he loved his task of handing out dessert because it meant he was able to talk to everyone.
“Did you ever think a person with autism could be so social? ” I said smiling.
She responding with a laugh and said that she feels a special bond with my son. I’m not surprised because I thought the two would be a good match from the moment I met her. My guy responds really well to warm, friendly people like her. I also knew the café would be an asset to the student/teacher relationship between the two because cooking is near and dear to my son’s heart.
Just before my guys and I left her at the school door (a necessity because the boys were headed towards our van), I told Mrs. C that her charge now wants to have a Lorenzen Café for all of his friends (well just two, actually). It’s true. As I was writing this post, my son announced that he made the invitations already. Alas, the Lorenzen Café will have to be put on hold. Christmas stuff will have to come first.