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Since we are in the mood of starting summer off right this week and during the 4th of July week, I decided to share this really easy recipe with you that you could try with your autistic loved one this week or really anytime during the summer (or any other holiday for that matter). It just makes me happy looking at this picture and all of the care it took to create this as well.
I like to take easy recipes found on the web and make them more accommodating according to how an autistic individual would perceive it and try to make the steps easier and more seamless. There will definitely be times in your loved one’s life that you will not always be there. So, it is nice and reassuring that there is YouTube and recipes you can leave with your autistic son or daughter that are easy to follow and doable.
In the Ingredient list below, I have incorporated a visual of what the box or actual ingredients may look like, whether you are shopping for the ingredients online or in the grocery store, actually seeing a picture of what type of ingredients to buy for this recipe ensures that they have the right item. I have also included an accommodation explanation of what may happen when things don’t always go as planned and the ingredient doesn’t match what the store carries. Life happens; -).
- 6 ounces, weight (large Box) Instant Vanilla Pudding
Math Skill Accommodation: The recipe clearly states that a 6oz. package is needed, depending on where your loved one is on the spectrum, he/she may just pick up one box, not understanding that they clearly need two boxes to fulfill this ingredient requirement. Which is why it is so important for you to gently clarify this, so that it is clearer.
- 14 ounces, fluid Sweetened Condensed Milk (plus Some Regular Milk, As Required by Your Pudding Mix)
Note: For this ingredient, everything is clearly stated on the product as well as the ounces. So, there is no need to adjust or explain the differences.
12 ounces, weight Cool Whip, Thawed, Divided
Math Skill Accommodation: As I was searching for these ingredients online at my local Walmart and Amazon stores, I found the Cool Whipped toppings, but they were both in totally different ounces. The one shown is 16oz and the other size advertised was 8oz. In this instance again, an individual on the spectrum would be extremely frustrated because they could not find the correct size of the ingredient. Not understanding that if they just purchased one 16oz. container or two 8oz containers of Cool Whip that the recipe would be fine.
14 ounces, weight Fresh Strawberries, Cut
Note: I looked for about 5 minutes or so on most online grocery platforms for a 14 oz. container of fresh strawberries vs the 16oz container that I saw all over the place. The 14oz container is just plain non-existent. Again, this could be another situation where your autistic loved one may have a melt down or become extremely frustrated because they are unable to find that specific ingredient. Although the recipe ingredient clearly states 14oz, there are only 16oz containers available. This is where you, an employee or teacher would step in explaining the discrepancy and that it would still work out, even though there is a 2 oz. difference. These little differences are things that neurotypical people (you and I) take for granted, but to an autistic person, they are overwhelming.
12 ounces, weight Fresh Blueberries
Note: The picture is not going to show up on your doorstep looking like this nor will you find it in most grocery stores, presented like this, so it is important for you to make this clear to your autistic loved one, so that there are no surprises upon arrival or even while you are at the grocery store itself. When an autistic individual sees a picture like this one above, he/she assumes that this is how they will find that product in the grocery store (in a little white bowl full of blueberries, with exactly 12oz. in it-**smile**). Autistic individuals see things as they are and assume that what they “see” is what they will find or “get”.
Note: Although this recipe clearly states that they would buy one from the grocery store bakery, these days I am a bit wary about whose hands have been where, especially when it comes to food. So, I would suggest buying an Angel Food Cake Mix vs purchasing at a local bakery (IMO). Of course, this is entirely up to you :-).
Recipe Directions: 1 whole Angel Food Cake Torn into Pieces (I Usually Just Buy One from The Bakery at My Grocery Store)
Mix vanilla pudding according to box but use the 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk for part of the milk it calls for. Then, use regular milk for the rest of what the box calls for. Mix according to box, or until rather thick. Then, fold (mix in) in 8 ounces of thawed Cool Whip (but save the rest for topping).
Rinse the berries and allow them to dry. Then, cut the strawberries into bite(small) size pieces.
Get out a trifle bowl (or any large glass bowl), or something that looks pretty (you could get away with a 13×9 pan if you had to). Layer everything 3 or so times (make sure to model this for your loved one, so they can see what layering looks like, then have them do it themselves). I usually start with a layer of angel food cake, and just tear it into pieces right into the bowl. Then, I put about 1/3 of the pudding mixture on top, followed by fruit. Do this a couple more times, and end with the rest of the Cool Whip. Finally, I put some more fruit on top to make it look pretty.
I hope you have a chance to try this recipe this week or anytime with your special needs loved one and enjoy every moment. Start making memories: -).
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Mandu Usoro is a lifestyle blogger, freelance writer, experienced homeschooler and US Army Veteran with a BS Degree in Social Work and AA Degrees in Psychology as well as Health Care Administration. She enjoys spending time with her family, advocating for her special needs son and writing for fun and inspiration. You can get in touch with her on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and at https://www.homeschoolspecneedstidbits.com/contact-us
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