I work with a group of students with intellectual disabilities, including autism, in a middle school setting. Our school is in a small tight-knit community, and many of our students receive free or reduced-price lunch. Despite the many difficulties they are faced with, my students have the drive to succeed.
These students work hard to overcome obstacles and meet their goals.
I have high expectations for them and push them to achieve at a higher level each day. They rise to the challenge and are always very proud of their accomplishments.
My students run three small businesses throughout the school year. At Christmas time, they make and sell Christmas ornaments to their fellow students. They also bake cookies periodically throughout the year to sell to students and staff. Every Friday, we make lunch from scratch, and the students run a business called Cafe 45, where teachers come to buy their lunch. These businesses teach essential vocational skills to students with special needs.
By starting in middle school, students with special needs can gain valuable, real-life work experience through these businesses, which gives them the ability to practice these skills in a safe environment.
During class, the students can use the new sets of play money and checks to practice financial skills through hands-on practice. The bill counter and coin sorter will help them count our profits and deposit them at the bank.
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