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Environments: Self-Sufficiency

Start small, keep it simple, and expect success. Experiment to find what works best. Dispense with methods you typically use if they don’t work for the person who’s learning. Brainstorm with others, especially with the person you’re helping.

Kathie Snow 

People who don’t have disabilities modify their environments and use tools to make life better. People with disabilities may also need modifications in their environments and tools to make life better. This is one in a series of articles about ways to create accessible, friendly, and welcoming environments for all.

One of the barriers to individuals with disabilities leading real lives—included in their communities, and living in the homes of their choice, with whatever supports they need—is the belief that they “can’t take care of themselves.” In many cases, this translates into “the person is unable to cook.”

Today, thousands of adults with disabilities are housed in segregated, congregate living quarters. Many—if not most—would prefer a home of their own. Also, millions of parents are concerned about the future of their children with disabilities. Most are hoping their sons and daughters will enjoy successful and inclusive lives in their communities, but many bite their fingernails with worry, unsure how this will happen. There are a variety of strategies to ensure individuals with labels can “take care of themselves,” e.g., can cook!

Why don’t more children and adults with disabilities learn to cook? In general, because parents or service providers believe the person doesn’t have the physical or mental abilities, or the parent/provider has never attempted to help the person learn because of fears the person will get hurt. Let’s move beyond these barriers!

First, let’s define “cooking.” Long ago, it meant collecting a number of ingredients​ . . . Click here to continue.