Suzanne inspired to gain food job skills

By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

TAKING risks has been a daily event for the past year for Suzanne Ruddell.

And this week Ms Ruddell reaped the rewards of that risk taking.

She has received a statement of attainment for 10 courses in commercial food preparation in partial completion of Certificate II in Hospitality (kitchen operations) from the CQ Institute of TAFE.

What makes this achievement so extraordinary is that Suzanne Ruddell is legally deaf and has other disabilities.

Principal teacher Keith Pollock said Suzanne's transformation had been inspirational.

"When Suzanne first joined the class she was scared of people, she had very little confidence and very basic verbal communication skills,'' Mr Pollock said.

Mr Pollock said a holistic approach was taken to Ms Ruddell's training by combining hands-on skills learning with the development of social and communication skills.

"I worked with Suzanne on a one-on-one basis to cater for her individual needs, using a method called 'link learning','' Mr Pollock said. "We used food as a metaphor to achieve goals. For example, peeling a carrot improved Suzanne's motor skills.

"We guided Suzanne through tasks step by step, gradually increasing the complexity of the task as her competency increased.

"Suzanne absorbed everything like a sponge.''

He said she never used her disabilities as an excuse for not achieving.

Mr Pollock said Suzanne was ready to enter the workforce.

"We have approached the respite centre for her to work one day a week in their kitchen.''

And Suzanne is keen to start work: "I can't wait to get a job!



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