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Visual Recipes for Non-Readers

  • Jul 30, 2008
Pros: suitable for all children of any age or disability.

Cons: None really

The Bottom Line: A visual cookbook that is a welcome addition to the book selection available to the autism community.

This is a wonderful accessory for all households with someone on the Autism Spectrum. Visual Recipes: A Cookbook For Non-Readers by Tabitha Orth and will be front and center in the kitchen for frequent perusal. This spiral-bound book packs 105 pages of step-by-step directions on how to get around in the kitchen and make the simplest of items independently.

This is not just marketed to those on the autism spectrum, but for any developmental disability. Although it is designed for children between the ages of three to ten, I can share that the summer camp my children attend have a hard copy of this book and make copies of the pages for their cooking sessions for the campers to follow along through the steps, plus the steps are broken down among the kids. The camp serves those between the ages of 4-17.

""Each aspect of the design and formatting of Visual Recipes is supporting a deficit while at the same time utilizing a strength. The breakdown of each recipe, which includes many steps that might seem unnecessary to some, creates a unique format that allows a student to become independent in the kitchen with greater confidence and ease."

There is a section at the beginning of the book that includes an introduction, understanding your cooking student's learning style, tips and tricks and color coding your kitchen. The table of contents includes:

Breakfast, Lunch, Side Dishes, Snacks, Desserts and Drinks. Some of the visual recipes include:

Ore Ida Golden Patties
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Bologna Sandwich
Corn Dog in Microwave
Franco American Spaghetti
Ore Ida Tater Tots
Popcorn in Microwave
Baked Chicken
Minute Rice
Sliced Apple
Duncan Hines Cupcakes
Banana Muffins
Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate
Lipton Ice Tea

I like how the brands are shown and mentioned in this book. Those on the autism spectrum are very particular in what brand they will eat and having the actual visual to the product that is utilized in the home is a welcome added bonus to Visual Recipes: A Cookbook For Non-Readers. The author also has a son named Matthew, but he has a service dog and is homeschooled.

I like how the grilled cheese recipe visualizes using both the toaster and then the microwave, which would be more suitable for my son Nicholas. At first the two pages filled with steps looked a bit overwhelming, until we went over it and he realized it moves quickly along. I will be incorporating more of these recipes once Matthew starts the fall school session since my other son Nicholas is homeschooled with California Virtual Academy. With Matthew not in the same room it will be easier to focus on teaching Nicholas these cooking skills.

The french fries two page demonstration uses the same techniques we do and even shows the oven mitts that Matthew loves to touch. When I opened Visual Recipes: A Cookbook For Non-Readers to this page he started touching the picture with the oven mitts. I am just glad we found Ore Ida Microwave Fries for the times when using an oven is not an option.

The twelve steps to heat up a leftover slice of pizza consist of:

Heating a slice of Pizza
get a slice of pizza
put on plate
put on microwave
close door
press power button
shows bell on microwave ringing
take out of microwave

The first picture for every recipe shows the finished product and then goes to the right and down to finish the page before moving to the second page. There are some blank pages in the book between recipes which is very suitable for notes or if you want to add a picture of your child making the item or with the finished results.

While the book is more geared toward my nonverbal son Matthew, I am starting off with Nicholas who is 13 and high functioning. The photos help give him the confidence and reinforcement that he can cook and prepare some meals on his own and become more self-sufficient.

The foods are not gluten-casein free and there are no actual recipes listed. This is more of a visual support with limited text showing the steps to make or put together these items. They are not actual dinners showing all the items for a meal. This is a good start showcasing the basic food items that seem to be favorites among those on the autism spectrum. It is not a healthy cookbook by any means, but focuses on a need in the community.


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November 15, 2010
Sounds very yummy! The focus on the visuals is always appreciated with cookbooks. :)
November 11, 2010
I like the sound of this book! :)
About the reviewer
Bonnie Sayers ()
Ranked #386
single parenting two teens on autism spectrum. Working out daily, Zumba & Bodybugg enthusiast.
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About this book


This cookbook has been specially designed and formatted to allow non-readers, students who lack mathematical skills, young children between the ages of three and ten years, and people with autism and other developmental disabilites to become independent in the kitchen. Each recipe is presented in sequential picture form, each step of which is framed for visual organization. Color coding suggestions for the kitchen are given.
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ISBN-13: 978-1931282901
Author: Tabitna Orth
Genre: Cooking
Publisher: Autism Asperger Pub Co
Date Published: May 30, 2006
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