Mastering practical life skills begins at an early age. I have prepared an example for grocery shopping – appropriate for toddlers to ages 10-12 years. Have your clients sequence events prior to executing the activity. Then, what better way to learn than in a multi-modal simulation?
First: Make a shopping list.
What are some of your favorite foods? What are some healthy foods vs. unhealthy (junk) foods? Categorize foods by sections in the grocery store (produce, dairy, meat, etc.). To downgrade task complexity, you can categorize foods by color, size, price, or meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner).
Use episodic information. If you are making spaghetti, hamburgers, salad, etc., look at a recipe, and make a list of items needed to be purchased at the grocery store.
Incorporate real sales papers and coupons. This is a good way to target reading comprehension and fine motor skills for the coupon clipping!
Second: Go shopping.
Where is your favorite place to go grocery shopping?
Have your client bring the shopping list and find the groceries. To increase task complexity, target recall skills by having him/her memorize the list. Or create a budget for the client to manage when shopping.
This part of the shopping activity can range from very simple (addition/subtraction of whole numbers) to complex (including fractions/percentages). How much change should you receive?
It is really fun to role play with the client and target social skills as well. How should you greet the cashier, teaching appropriate pragmatics (eye contact) and manners. Take turns being the shopper and the cashier. Discuss where your groceries will be stored. In the pantry? In the refrigerator?
Put these skills into practice at your local grocery store that offers self-checkout!
Brittany Fontenot, M.A., CCC-SLP
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.