What's Happening?

What's Happening?

Teaching Children with Autism to Cook Has Important Health Benefits

When a child with autism learns to cook, one of the most important benefits can be improved nutrition. A grant from The Schenectady Foundation is enabling the Crossroads Center for Children to expand its popular and beneficial cooking activities for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Cooking integrates skills in reading, writing, math skills, socialization, and sensory integration. The latter is important because many children with autism have repetitive eating patterns and exhibit maladaptive behaviors when new foods are introduced. When a child will only eat certain foods a huge deficit in nutritional intake occurs. The cooking lessons at Crossroads work on interrupting poor nutritional habits now and creating life-long success and improved health and nutrition in their students.

Crossroads has been successful introducing new foods to students, who are are often more agreeable to trying something when they have participated in making it. Additionally, the lessons provide opportunities to teach basics of nutrition, healthy choices for eating, recognizing types of foods, preparing food, and hygiene skills -- all skills which are tied into Crossroads’ vision of success in life for its students and their families.

The $8,500 TSF grant will enable the school to purchase additional cookware, kitchenware, and ingredients, and expand the frequency and quality of the cooking activities.

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