Teresa Carter-Ikeda, Heartland AEA special education data specialist, visits Andrew (center) and Max’s coffee shop.
Two local students, Andrew and Max, participated in the Agency’s recent 5-day autism training and learned valuable life skills by working in a small coffee and donut shop that was set up in a conference room at our Regional Education Center in Johnston.
Staff members who facilitated the training created the coffee and donut shop to provide opportunities to teach money skills, appropriate communication and social interactions and teamwork. It was a great success! The students served approximately 100+ customers during the week, including Heartland AEA staff and visitors including local teachers and administrators.
During the week, the training facilitators received many requests for the coffee shop to continue, both as a vocational opportunity for students with disabilities from local districts and as a service to Heartland AEA staff and participants in professional development opportunities provided by the Agency.
The 5-day autism training is provided to local educators through a collaborative partnership between the Des Moines Public Schools’ Autism Resource Team and Heartland AEA’s Challenging Behavior and Autism Team.