The HDS B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Community-Based Instruction (CBI) outings that we host in collaboration with our local high school partners are much more than purely educational. They are an opportunity for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other abilities to feel part of their community and enjoy all of the benefits and experiences that come with visiting local establishments with their peers. 

Through these experiences, they practice money management, budgeting, food selection, and socializing. These skills cannot be taught in a traditional classroom environment, as creating real-life scenarios would only provide part of the experience. That is why the HDS B.R.I.D.G.E.S.  program frequently takes students on CBIs where they can practice socializing, managing budgets, and other such skills that can easily be taken for granted by those not affected with Autism.   

This week our students visited a local Panera Bread Bakery Café. Students ordered a drink, a meal, and dessert on their own. They used their Bank of America Debit Cards to pay independently. Once their order was completed, they had to wait for it to be ready and grab their food at the pick-up counter.  Those that purchased fountain drinks had the opportunity to practice using the self-serve drink dispenser. The students truly enjoyed their delicious lunch and the chance to socialize with their classmates.  

It’s experiences like these that make our HDS B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Programs so successful!