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Activity and strategy

Restaurant Book with Tactile Symbols

Create your own book of tactile symbols to enable students with multiple disabilities to order their own food at a restaurant.

One of my students is in the district’s program for individuals over the age of 18.  This young man is nonverbal with no vision. With him, I go into the home or community with another teacher, therapist, or outside agency. In an effort to help him be more independent, we previously made him a grocery store book. This helped him as he bought the groceries that were specific to his needs. Hhis mother and I have now collaborated on a restaurant book. We decided to use some of the items from his niece’s play food basket as he is familiar with those, having played with her and the food items. We have been practicing pairing the plastic food items with the real food, so that he is learning to associate them and make the connection.

Our goal is for him to go into the restaurant and order his own food. We will be trying it out next week when we go to McDonald’s. We decided to made the chicken nuggets a “large chicken nuggets” to alert the employee the size of his meal. as well as to make it generic enough to work anywhere chicken nuggets are on the menu.   We are now trying to figure out how to represent quesadillas.  Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  • play food
  • card board
  • silicon (works better than glue for this young man)
  • gorilla glue (worked great as additions to the pizza…i.e. cheese)
  • Tactile connections (The gray background was suggested by his speech therapist, to help him not to confuse them with the other symbols we’ve made so far.)
  • plastic shapes
  • rubber shapes


Tactile Symbols of Chicken Nuggets and French Fries  Tactile Symbol of a hamburger
Tactile symbols of Coke and flautas Tactile symbol of pizza
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