Week Day Programming

Weekly programming emphasizes heavily on routine so participants will know what to expect whether they participate every day or a few days a week. To facilitate success for our participants, we have individualized visual schedules for those needing extra support as well as a “quiet room” for those participants needing to take a break or in need of sensory regulation.

Lunch Prep and Job Assignments

To encourage more independence in the kitchen, participants have the opportunity prepare what is scheduled for lunch that day–whether they are eating or not. This allows everyone to experience making mac and cheese, pizza muffins and other planned lunches. Lunch prep assignments are already predetermined and listed weekly on our Lunch Prep Board. Even if participants bring their own lunch they will have the opportunity to cook for their peers that do eat a COF lunch.

For those not assigned to lunch prep for the day, participants are assigned set up and clean up jobs.

Our overall goals are simple–to continue to support as much independence as possible with the opportunity for participants to take more ownership in their ‘job assignments’. As always, expectations are explained both verbally, visually and written down depending how each participant learns best. Since we are preparing meals for our peers, (not just for ourselves), gloves will be worn for those items that involve direct touch–for example, pizza muffins. Visual and written recipes/steps for all our lunches are also provided for the participants to follow.

After School Programming

While typical peers have the opportunity to join a variety of after school clubs and activities, these options are limited for special needs students. We offer programming beginning at 3:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Programming activities vary each day. To see a complete list of activities, click a date on the calendar icon found in the side bar.

Week-Day Programming Overview

  • Preparing a daily meal or snack
  • Setting the table
  • Conversation skills with visuals and scripts
  • Cleaning jobs
  • Art & Music
  • Gardening (3-raised garden beds on site)
  • Health, Wellness & Fitness
  • Yoga
  • Cardio
  • Nutrition and Healthy Self—Guided Discussions
  • Social Jobs—Selected by participants
  • Social Trivia
  • Learning to play new games
  • Technology
    Newsletters/Journals/Mad Libs/Scrapbooking
    News 2 You software

Topical Activity Series

Learning never stops at Connection of Friends as we explore a variety of topics activities in a fun and engaging way!

Series Examples

On the Road Again Series— Vinyl Series—Familiar Faces Series

Hobbies Series —Stranger than Fiction Series—Flashback Friday: Toys

Program Volunteers

Connection of Friends is fortunate to have Program Volunteers that oversee programming activities weekly. For those participants that do not work with our Program Volunteers, the activities are still carried over to other days.

Art with Carol

Art is introduced in a variety of mediums with extra attention paid to sensory issues.  Each week, art is assigned a “theme” as well as a medium to explore, (watercolor, chalk, pencils, clay, etc). Participant art is sold throughout the year at our fundraisers and individual pieces are re-produced for our note card sets.

Scroll Frames–Art Auction

Participants were paired up to create one-of-kind scroll frames, (made with rolled up paper), with original art work displayed inside. Each frame took over a year to make.

Yoga with Mary

Mary, (who is a certified yoga instructor), provides a 30-minute class each week at Connection of Friends and she invites one participant each week to help assist. Yoga, however, is programmed throughout the week as part of our fitness activities.

Gardening with Kathy

Our gardening program teaches our participants the fundamentals of planting and taking care of plants.  Gardening activities include:

  • Planting seedlings for fundraising
  • Planting bean sprouts and lettuce indoors
  • Planting flowers in personalized pots
  • Transferring plants to our outdoor garden
  • Planting a variety of vegetables including beans, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkins and peppers
  • Maintaining our 3 raised garden beds during the spring, summer and fall.

Conducting with Terry and Music

Conducting with Terry gets everyone on their feet as our Music Series explores different genres, decades and instruments!

Our music programming also uses both instruments and singing as participants explore a variety of topics including emotions, conversation skills, making friends and self-esteem.  Past activities have also included writing two original songs entitled “Here at Connection of Friends” and “Friends, Friends, Friends.”

Here at Connection of Friends

Technology and Science Activities

As the recipient of a technology grant, COF purchased an iMac computer and printer as well as a subscriptions to News 2 You. 

Participants have the opportunity to do an array of computer projects including activity journals, emailing and scrapbooking.  News 2 You provides visually supported materials to navigate current news stories and age appropriate topics.

Science continues to be a popular activity with our week-day participants with its focus on “cause and effect.”  All experiments are visually supported with a series of questions to be discussed before, during and at the conclusion of each experiment. Our “scientists” have explored:

  • Bending water with static
  • Whether an orange floats or sinks
  • Making rain clouds in a jar


Exercise is programmed daily at Connection Friends. From hand heights to steppers; resistance bands to medicine balls; we engage our participants in a fun way! And yes! Dancing is exercise!


Healthy eating habits are taught in a fun and engaging way.  Topics explored include:

  • Nutrition labels
  • Serving sizes
  • Healthy tips when eating out
  • Sugar count in beverages and snacks


In the Community

For additional information about volunteering and community engagement locations, please click on the Post-Transition Tab.

On-Site Volunteering

Connection of Friends volunteers with a variety of organizations within the community including:

  • DuPage Care Center
  • DuPage Pads–In-House Volunteer Project
  • Humanitarian Service Project
  • Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans (MSHV)
  • Glen Ellyn Public Library
  • SCARCE (School and Community Assistance for Composting and Recycling Education)

Our commitment to volunteering also extends to ongoing community projects done in-house:

  • Creating place mats for DuPage Pads
  • Christmas in July Food Drive benefitting PRC and done in cooperation with Hope Presbyterian Church and Southminster Presbyterian Church
  • Creating a series of “holiday” cards for the residents of DuPage Convalescent Center and Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans
  • Donating vegetables from our 3rd Raised Garden Bed benefitting PRC
  • Got Mitten? Hat, Mitten and Scarf drive benefitting MSHV
Community Lunch & Dessert

Participants are given the opportunity to practice their “dining out” and “money skills” at a variety of restaurants including Panera Bread, Boston Market, Kilwin’s, Vanilla Sugar Bakery and Starbucks.  Families receive menus prior to the session beginning so participants can chose their meals ahead of time.  All outings are supported visually and community rules “reviewed” prior to leaving COF.

Product Creation

For additional information, please click on the COF Products Tab.

Participants are given the opportunity to create “products” to be sold at our fundraising events.  Products include Bark-licious dog biscuits from scratch as well as a variety of  recipe jars—Goodness Gracious Granola, More S’Mores Please, Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies, Bodacious Brownie Mix, Cravin’ Craisn Muffin Mix and Flippin’ for Flapjacks Pancake Mix.

Connection of Friends Heart & Soap with scents like Vanilla Coffee, Orange Oatmeal, Rosemary Lavender, Pumpkin Spice and Peppermint are also available for purchase throughout the year as well as our Wickedly Good Candle line.