As a part of gearing up to begin the Comfortable Cafeteria program, it is important for the occupational therapist (and/or other school staff) implementing the program to meet and begin to develop a positive, trusting relationship with the relevant stakeholders. Relevant stakeholders include any person who has a vested interest in or may be impacted by the cafeteria program such as cafeteria supervisors, students, principal, teachers and other school staff, the custodian, and families. All relevant stakeholders need to be informed about what the Comfortable Cafeteria program is and when it will take place.
The most important stakeholders to collaborate with are the cafeteria supervisors. Although there may be variation in who actually serves in this capacity, cafeteria supervisors are the adults responsible for overseeing the lunch session and who help the students enter and leave the cafeteria, obtain lunches (if purchased), behave in positive ways, and enjoy their lunch. Cafeteria supervisors may be paid personnel (usually part-time), parent volunteers, or teachers assigned to 'lunch duty'.
Action step: The occupational therapist and/or other personnel implementing the Comfortable Cafeteria program need to make a point of introducing themselves to the cafeteria supervisors during the observation assessment and share a copy of the Comfortable Cafeteria Information Brief. Emphasize that the purpose of the program is to help support them in their role as supervisors by providing information, weekly activities, and ongoing problem-solving and coaching. Cafeteria supervisors play a critical role in helping students enjoy their school day. Reinforce their importance and commit to working with them in a collaborative manner.