Saturday, January 31, 2009
I've been reading a lot about self-determination and quality of life as it relates to individuals with disabilities. This topic hits home for us as parents, not just because we have a soon-to-be-teenager with a disability but because we wish to prepare both our children for the future. We've been doing a lot of talking about being responsible and what that means for an 11 and 12 year old. I, of course, have high expectations.
So one day last week I forgot to pack the kids' lunches and Nathan offered to make his own. This got me thinking of a way to help him prepare for the future. Here's what I did today:
The boys and I talked about what made a good lunch. Good means somewhat nutritious but also delicious. I then gave them each $20 and we went to the grocery store. Nathan really wanted lemonade in little pouches (found it $2 for 10). Nolan had a hankering for fizzy yogurt. We didn't find Fizzix but he saw yogurt with crunchies on top. $.85 each. He figured out that five of those would cost $4.25. Ok, I was proud that he could do the math in his head. I taught him that, you know. He also realized that it was quite a lot of his money. We looked around and found some lunch sized yogurts with crunchies that were four for $2-something. Since he is allowed to buy lunch once a week he only needed four anyway. Aaah, the savings. Both boys were excited to buy chips (as I don't usually purchase this item). Pringles were on sale for $1 a can.
They used the self-checkout to finish up and used my Bonus card to insure the savings. Nolan's lunch for the week cost just over $7 and Nathan's was just over $10. They were excited to see how much money they saved by buying things on sale. Actually, they both really enjoyed the experience. They will now start packing their own lunches each evening before bed (we'll see if that is as much fun as buying it).
The purpose of this little excersize wasn't so I have to do less work but to help them learn to navigate one more system: the grocery store. In navigating this system they were learning self-determining skills: making decisions, making choices, being autonomous, and regulating themselves (they didn't spend nearly all their money). Maybe someday I'll write a paper called Self-Determination Through Grocery Shopping. You never know.