Vargas is deepening its inclusion work by moving beyond Autism Awareness this April to Autism Acceptance.
Special Education teacher Alyssa Dew provided presentations to both students and staff that focused on:
-getting to know the students at Vargas in their grade
-accepting and normalizing autistic behaviors and tools
-noticing that the autistic students in Special Day Class (SDC) like similar things that their classmates do (running, playing with dolls, dancing, reading books, etc.)
-being patient and understanding communication differences.
“I talked a lot about how my students answer with single words, sounds, or using an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device instead of their voice in full sentences. I was also lucky enough to borrow a student AAC device to show younger kids how they work!” Ms. Dew shared. “Truly, my goal was to normalize who these students are and create an even bigger space for them to grow here at Vargas! I was also (hopefully) able to give the students a space to answer questions that they had from what a student’s favorite animal was to if they could “catch” Autism.”
She even reported seeing immediate results at recess- kids helping or playing with the school’s special day class kids in a way that was accepting of the fact that they might not play the same way. It was a great learning experience and heartwarming to see our efforts to make sure everyone is included and accepted for their uniqueness.
Article submitted by Behavior Intervention Services Team.