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Clean up your area

When Ben was hired to work at Olive Garden at age 16 (after applying for every job he saw since the age of 14) he attended the regular orientation and mentoring that comes with the job.

Ben loved working at Olive Garden and was hired to make their signature salad. This was a perfect first job for Ben because it was consistent and predictable. The only variable was the number of people to make the salad for and this was defined by a lined insert to show where to fill the bowl.

They told Ben to be sure to

"clean up your area"

and that is where the disconnect started. That statement is a very vague and open to interpretation and Ben took a look around, compared his station to his room at home and declared it clean.

What Ben needed was to be shown how to clean the area, with what equipment he should use and how it was expected to look at the end. This type of explicit teaching is so important for children with autism (or really anyone) when you have an expectation of how the finished product will appear. Ben did an amazing job, once he understood how and when to complete the tasks. He was able to move on to making breadsticks, learning how to bus the tables and eventually use the computer to work the host stand. Each job had increasing responsibility and afforded him success at work.

Now to continue the process in that bedroom...

Love you more,


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