A unique class project is helping students with autism learn social skills with a coffee cart in school.

Three times a day, students brew and sell coffee to teachers with the Garden City Coffee Cart.

“Making coffee and delivering it and just getting money so we can do fun stuff,” said student Josh Short. He and his classmates are on the autism spectrum.

“Regardless of their label they are able to function independently and successfully. It’s really cool to see them take pride in what they are doing and they are very proud of themselves which is ultimately the goal,” said special education teacher Siera Price, who started the coffee cart about two years ago.

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“It was a great way to introduce new math skills. A lot of the students really struggle with understanding the concept of money,” said Price.

“We started working on it to also influence their reading. They started having to match the letters on the order to the letters on the coffee and then from there it just built,” Price continued.

After they make the coffee, the cart is ready to roll through the hallways, and students find each room, and deliver coffee to teachers.

“I had students who weren’t speaking and now they are speaking,” said Price. “It’s been great for their peers and other classrooms to see them. They are now recognizing peers by name so they’ll be in the hall and someone will say ‘hey’. It’s really cool to see.”

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