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The Cookbook for Children with Special Needs

The Cookbook for Children with Special Needs

Learning a Life Skill with Fun, Tasty, Healthy Recipes

Deborah French, illustrated by Leah Ehrlich

Quick Overview

This fully-illustrated book introduces children with special needs to the fundamentals of food preparation, healthy eating and cookery skills. Recipes pitched at three increasing levels of difficulty cover a wide range of skills making the book suitable for all abilities. The importance of health and safety is emphasised throughout.
Details Price Qty
2045, 9.92in x 6.46in / 252mm x 164mm, 200pp
ISBN: 978-1-84905-538-3
2015, PDF, 200pp
ISBN: 978-1-78450-156-3
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Learning to cook not only equips children with a valuable life skill, but will help boost self-esteem in other areas of their lives.

The book starts with a basic illustrated guide to where food comes from, the different food groups, how to create our own diet and why cooking is a great skill to master. Simple, step-by-step instructions accompanied by fun illustrations, guide children through three levels of cooking, starting with fundamental basics including the preparation of a wide variety of different foods, and building up to more complex recipes. Health and safety skills are taught as an essential part of the cooking activity and healthy eating habits are reinforced throughout.

Parents and carers will find cooking with children with special needs to be enjoyable and rewarding with this book, which thoroughly prepares the child for the cooking experience. Teachers, activity organisers and anyone else working with children with special needs will also find this book to be a great resource for cooking inspiration.


'Doing cooking lessons with Debbie is really fun. I've learnt so many things. I was scared to crack an egg but Debbie said that it doesn't bite! Debbie taught me how to make soups, chicken, burgers, chocolate cupcakes and loads more. I love taking a bite of what we make and thinking 'Wow! This is heaven!''
- Liora, aged twelve

'Liora really enjoys her cookery lessons. She has grown proficient and confident in many areas of food preparation and cookery. For me, home practice is the best, as she cooks us all the delicious things that she has learnt in class!'
- Emma, mother of Liora

'Debbie taught me that cooking could actually be fun and exciting. I also realized how simple a recipe could be if I read and follow it properly and most importantly I got to eat all the yummy food I made. I make many of my recipes at home and they are quick and easy.'
- Talia, aged twelve


I have never been "attracted" to the kitchen and am not organized and never follow a recipe. Together with my daughter Talia we would practice the recipes after her class and she made me realize in order to create a successful dish, I need to follow a recipe and the process. In fact it has become quite enjoyable cooking quick and easy recipes.
I also learnt from Talia the basics of cooking and how to use various cooking utensils. I have found all the recipes to be intuitive and even my younger children are using Deborah's simple cooking methodology.

- Beth Katzman, mother of Talia


Debbie's cookery class gives me good recipes and we come out of the class each week with really tasty and good food that we have made.
The class has taught me different and new ways of preparing food and taught me to be careful with the oven, gas top etc.
I have learnt to be organized in the kitchen and to tidy up after myself.
We are even allowed to add our own ideas to the cooking if it is suitable which I love.

- Tom, aged eleven

'There is no doubt that a diet rich in processed, convenience foods increases the risk of developing disease and leading a less fulfilling life. But if a child is not brought up to be able to cook and enjoy healthy meals, how are they to avoid such a diet when it is is so easy and cheap to find? This is why Deborah's book is so groundbreaking, on-target and refreshing - it is a complete guide for parents and carers to teach fundamental cooking skills to children while also intuitively showing children what a joy food and meal times should be: This is a message that will stick for life. The book is full of heart and happiness - I am so excited to recommend it to my patients.'
- Dalia Weinreb Maori R.D., Clinical Specialist Registered Dietitian, Holistic Nutritionist, The Therapy Room, Cambridge


Every Special Education Program in the New York City public school system features classes with "Activities for Daily Living". Included, and of particular importance, are cookery classes. The Cookbook for Children with Special Needs is therefore an extremely valuable tool for such classes.
A consistent tone of encouragement, along with the logical transition of learning about food and safety in the kitchen, and the step by step procedure for each recipe, makes this book a "must have" for teachers.
In addition, the photographs, illustrations and space for comments creates a kid-oriented focus. It is an excellent guide for educators, parents and teachers alike.

- Margo Donovan, Staff Developer, New York City Department of Special Education


For children with special needs, being involved in the kitchen can help overcome difficulties in various areas including: fine motor issues, difficulties with concentration and sensory, cognitive and emotional issues such as low self-esteem.
Exposure to new smells and tactile sensations may be helpful for kids with sensory sensitivities. Following a recipe develops the ability to follow multiple-step directions, as well as teaching problem-solving skills, increasing motor fluency, bilateral upper body movement, grading of movement and wrist rotation. Math skills, visual and spatial perceptual skills and reading skills will all be used too.
The emotional reward for a child experiencing a sense of responsibility by being entrusted with the task of preparing food allows the child to blossom with immeasurable satisfaction and pride.
In this informative and enjoyable book, Deborah French has enabled families with children with special needs, to spend time together doing fun and simple everyday activities in an easy and graded way. I would highly recommend it for all children!

- Benita Rochberger, Developmental and Cognitive Occupational Therapist

'I absolutely LOVE this book. It covers everything a child needs to know, in a simple, easy to follow way. The skill symbols are great. The layout makes absolute sense cover to cover. We were able to access some recipes really quickly and my son was able to follow and celebrate a successful piece of cookery. The Author's experience as a hand's on parent shines through.'
- Mel Thomsett


By (author): Deborah French
Illustrated by: Leah Ehrlich