Disabled Students Learn Life Skills

A group of students at Ocean Springs High School spent Tuesday afternoon cooking gumbo and cornbread.

But this cooking class isn't your typical home economics course. It's part of the life skills learning in a program for students with disabilities.

"Alisha, Michael, Bobby. Are you ready to start cooking?" asked teacher, Robyn Moser.

Today's lesson is crock pot cuisine.

"It cooks while we're at work. And when we come home, we have dinner. We don't have to worry about it," Moser explained.

Worry free cooking is a perfect fit. The special students are learning life skills to make them more independent.

"As independent as possible. We set that standard high. That's what we aim for. That's what we're gearing them for. All of our skills, their skills, so that they can live as independent as possible," the teacher explained.

18 year old Justin Fisher might be cooking for himself one day. His mom is much encouraged by this program.

"It's teaching him to be on his own. To focus on his own. To do things on his own. His own skills," said Roxanne Fisher.

There's lots of love in the kitchen. Students encourage one another.

"They're sweet kids. It's only my second year to teach. But these kids are sweet. They're happy," said Keli Sagalas.

Cooking is only one ingredient in the recipe for independent living. Frequent field trips are another.

"We go to the bank. We go grocery shopping. We go to the movie theater. We go to restaurants. We practice ordering off menus. Counting out change. Making sure we have the right amount of money," said Moser.

Their infectious enthusiasm shows. These young people are eager to learn.

"Everything is a lesson. Everything is a teachable moment," said the teacher.

Such moments will allow many of these students to achieve independence.