Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Education and Special Needs

Blog #46~A Day in the Life of Nick

Blog #46~A Day in the Life of Nick

This morning I am prepping for Nick’s IEP meeting to be held at 11:51 a.m.  I review all of the progress reports that I requested ahead of time. It is essential to get those reports early so you know what is going on.  Plus it saves time during the meeting.  I have more tips in Blog #24~Top Ten Things I have Learned While Navigating Nick through School, (located in the October archives). I want to give you a glimpse into the day in the life of Nick’s world at school.  What does someone like Nick who has Down syndrome and autism (lacking reading and writing skills) work on in school?

His day starts early, the skies are still dark when the bus rolls up at 6:30 a.m.  Most mornings Nick is dragging but when I mention it’s a community day he tends to perk up a little quicker.  The first two periods of Nick’s day are called “Life Skills.”  The class looks at the calendar, works on dates, upcoming events and the weather.  Nick enjoys telling others about the weather and is consistent in picking out the correct icon and working the weather page on his iPod Touch Chat program. After calendar, the students practice yoga.  They are following the “Get Ready to Learn Yoga Program.”


This is followed up with reading skills working on IEP goals of community safety words and pictures, computer programs and group news sharing session of current events.  On Thursdays there is a cooking unit.  Nick loves it and has tried several new foods this year including chili mac, waffles, pancakes, chocolate chip cookies and spaghetti tacos.  Now I am hungry! 🙂

Here’s an example of a recipe they use at school for monkey bread…….


Third period is called “Home Maintenance.” During this time Nick prepares a simple snack.  He makes a choice using either his picture icons or iPod Touch Chat.  He likes Cheezits, pretzels, popcorn, salami and cheese. Here he is able to practice fine motor skills like cutting and opening packages with the occupational therapist.  He also works on hygiene skills, (brushing teeth, putting on deodorant and body spray, etc…).  For practical information and visual supports about hygiene and dressing be sure to read  Blog #22~Grooming 101 (located in the September archives).

Nick takes adapted physical education in fourth period.  Units include soccer, swimming, basketball, volleyball, badminton, kickball, adventure education and walking.  He really enjoys the interaction with peer buddies in class.  Period five is lunch time. 🙂

APE swimming 006 (4)

In the afternoon for periods six through eight, Nick has “Vocational and Community” skill building. Nick is working at job training sites three days a week.   These include Tabor Hills (retirement home) and Re-Store (Habitat for Humanity) where is responsible for vacuuming.

Nick vacumming_Tabor Hills (3)

His third job is at Adopt (animal shelter) where he removes leaflets from stacks of newspapers for cages.  On the other days he has school jobs which include shredding, work bins, rental laundry.  Wednesdays I have no problem getting Nick out of bed. It’s community day. 🙂 He enjoys it and is so happy being out and about.  The activities include dining out both at fast food and sit down restaurants, mall walking and shopping at Wal-Mart for groceries to use in the cooking unit.  Here he works on his goal to pay with a debit card.

Nick trying on sunglasses at the store…… He’s looking pretty fly!

018 (2)

He can manage a grocery cart (with reminders to not purposefully run into items or people)

Ramming speed ahead! You should see Nick barreling through Costco 🙂

grocery cart

That is the day in the life of Nick in high school.  His days are filled and structured during the week from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. He loves going to school and enjoys the staff (and giving them a run for their money.) That’s what is in my noggin this week.



Teresa is the Author of "A New Course: A Mother's Journey Navigating Down Syndrome and Autism" and the mother of two boys. Her youngest son, Nick is 29 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD). Teresa's passion is helping others understand and navigate co-occurring Down syndrome and autism. She is a DS-ASD consultant, advocate, speaker, and author. Follow Nick's world on Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice of Autism and on Twitter @tjunnerstall. For more information and media links, visit

3 thoughts on “Blog #46~A Day in the Life of Nick

  1. TJ,
    Thanks so much for this detailed picture of Nick at school. I can just see him vacuuming up a storm at his community job. I so enjoy learning about Nick’s world and esp. learning how to make monkey bread. Makes me hungry:)

    1. Thanks Joleene, he does have a full day and the structure really helps him navigate his world better. I have been pleased at the cooking unit and his willingness to try new foods too! Thanks for replying and have a great week! 🙂

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