Community Based Instruction program aims to increase independence

Growing Minds class at Memorial School recently visited Pizza City as part of their Community Based Instruction (CBI). Students order and pay for their food to practice independence. Students also are learning how to acquire skills to support a healthy lifestyle.

The overall goals of CBI trips are to practice skills that increase community participation and foster student independence, according to Growing Minds teacher Kate Elman  The trips are designed to help the students acquire and generalize life skills that will enhance opportunities for meaningful experiences and relationships within the general community.

"My class goes on CBI trips once a week, weather permitting, to practice a variety of skills, including purchasing and ordering items at a restaurant or store, practicing safety skills transitioning to and while at the community setting, and practicing appropriate behavior while in the community to name a few," Ms. Elman said. "Specifically, students practice transitioning to the community setting by walking with a staff member and staying on sidewalks and within crosswalks while walking in the community. Depending on the target setting, students may practice purchasing and/or ordering food items and eating in a restaurant while exhibiting socially appropriate behavior."

Students are given money and have to secure the money in their wallets. When making purchases, students work towards ordering and buying their items independently.  Staff are there to guide and prompt students if and when needed.

All CBI trips are within walking distance from the school.  Locations are rotated and include Pizza City, Dunkin Donuts, the Mini Mart, Parkwest Bagel Cafe, Carvel, Subway, and the laundromat. The program is looking to expand to other locations such ShopRite so students can practice purchase items from a list such as ingredients for a recipe or items to prepare a snack or lunch.