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Pittsburgh-area teacher creates adaptive menu at Cranberry Township restaurant

Server creates adaptive menus for Cranberry Township restaurant
Server creates adaptive menus for Cranberry Township restaurant 02:15

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PA. (KDKA) - A teacher at Mars Area Primary Center is using her skills as an educator and bringing them to a local restaurant, and the results are leaving a lot of customers happy.


Jordyn Wyllie is a server at the North Park Lounge restaurant in Cranberry Twp., and even at times works behind the bar. This is Jordyn's second job. The majority of her time is spent at Mars Area Primary Center, working as a Life Skills Teacher.

"I have students with all different needs. Some of them have physical needs some of them have communication needs," said Wyllie. 

Months ago, she started a café activity with her students and discovered their challenges with communication—like ordering food—greatly improved when she made "adaptive menus."

Those menus would then inspire her to bridge a gap that she often witnessed in her job as a server.

"Both adults and children, their communicating needs not being met and so families and parents are ordering for them," said Wyllie.

So, with her manager's approval, Wyllie started making another version of their children's menu, this one with fewer words and more color. 

"There are photos, so they're completely able to order themselves. And in the back, there's a basic communication board," she added. "Giving them a choice has given them so much independence in our classroom and outside of it, where I'm not ordering a corndog for them when they want chicken."

"Two parents have come up and hugged me. They've never had an interaction like that," Wyllie continued.

Kids who've had difficulties communicating when ordering are now being given a voice. According to Jordyn, that is why being inclusive matters.

"As long as they're understood by the greater community, I think that opens so many avenues for students, for adults, and for anyone who has these communication needs,' Wyllie said.

She is hopeful that more restaurants, large or small, will consider having adaptive menus. She says they're easy to make and inexpensive.

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