Savannah lending a hand during Easter
In 2005, in the very early days of my AAC journey with Savannah, I wanted to help her to participate in our family’s celebration of Easter. Quite a task at the time as she showed no interest in anything other than music and food. Yet, unlike other children, she had no mad obsession with chocolate, nor any care for new clothes or family fun.
So I did two things:
I made a picture story using PCS symbols about the death and resurrection of Jesus. I know…rather big concepts for someone with Autism. I read the story day in and day out in the build up to Easter. I also made posters with Easter eggs and symbols for the death and resurrection of Christ. This has become part of our family tradition over the years, and now each Good Friday evening we tell the story, and Savannah delights in answering the question or telling parts of the story.
And the second thing I did was to teach Savannah to help me to prepare Good Friday lunch. I decided to make leg of lamb a traditional dish for this celebration. The concept of ‘lamb’ made sense to me to celebrate Easter. Music and food were big motivators for Savannah. So while preparing the marinade I sang songs relevant to Easter.
My singing got her attention, and as long as I sang, she allowed me to use ‘hand over hand” with her. I spoke through “pouring the Worcestershire Sauce” and adding a “teaspoon of thyme” etc. between bursts of song. I also had very simple visual cues for pour, mix and rub. Since the first Easter that I tried to include Savannnah, her participation in kitchen work throughout the year as increased year on year.
Over the last two years, she has become solely responsible for the leg of lamb for Good Friday lunch. That means she reminds us about buying the leg; reminds us to defrost the leg of lamb a day before Good Friday; mixes the marinade, marinates the meat, and puts it in the oven. She requests help only to carry the tray and for the steps that include the oven.
Savannah relies on visual calendars and over the years she has memorised the months of the year, birthdays, other celebrations and uses March as her cue that Easter is coming, and we need to buy the leg of lamb.
This year she made the leg of lamb from scratch.
Watch a short video of us making lamb: