This program provides participants with readiness skills for reading, counting, and handwriting. In addition, they receive training in pre-vocational and vocational, self-care, daily living skills, art, music, and socialization skills.

Higher-level participants are enrolled in a program that provides the skills they need to apply learning and information to life’s more advanced situations. Courses include reading, math, computer skills, and language arts using a wide variety of innovative approaches. Class work extends to social interaction, as well as fine- and gross-motor skills.


This program emphasizes experiences in independent living, community awareness, health, and safety.  Functional pre-vocational skills are taught in the context of the food service program that supplies a complete daily menu for participants and staff. The training encourages making choices of work conditions and tasks.  Participants also have access to a specially-designed apartment within the Gateway building where they learn home maintenance and housekeeping skills, use of kitchen and laundry appliances, and social skills.

The Pre-Vocational Program encompasses many skills. By completing multi-step piece work activities during the work program, the participants acquire skills which make them employable. In addition, they are refining their fine motor, counting, sequencing, and packing skills. It is during these tasks that they learn to work individually and as a team.

Individuals who participate in the 2-year training program in Dorothy’s Can-Do Café are given specific training and “on-the-job” practice. They move from bakery work to café scenarios focusing on customer service, store cleanliness, and opening and closing responsibilities.

Participants are trained to understand simple instructions, use cooking utensils and machinery safely. They also learn to apply appropriate sanitation guidelines, and social skills. These skills are designed specifically for employment in a bakery or kitchen, involving food preparation, candy making, and maintenance.

In the bakery program, participants are trained to use measuring and cutting utensils, in addition to operating the mixing machine. They learn to make bread, rolls, cookies, cake, and items for every holiday.


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Gateway to Learning
Special Education
and Training Center

4925 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625-2609

P. 773-784-3200
F. 773-784-3299

 Dorothy's Can Do Cafe
4925 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625-2609  

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