LOOKING FOR WAYS TO INCORPORATE AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH IN YOUR SCHOOL?
I am ALL about incorporating the Day of Acceptance (January 20th) and Autism Awareness Month (APRIL) into my school! Below are some ideas of different things I do in my school to get everyone involved!
For “LIGHT IT UP BLUE” I started out the month by passing out small blue puzzle pieces to each class (enough for every student in the school). I requested that each student decorates their unique puzzle piece and that they ask 1 question that they have about Autism on the back of the puzzle piece! When I received all of the questions back, my classroom team and I went through all of the questions and created a PowerPoint that explained what Autism is and answered all of the great questions students had! Once the PowerPoint was complete I sent it to all of the classroom teachers to go over and share with their students!!
We also created this amazing display in our front hallway! LIGHT IT UP BLUE!! Once we did this, I personally saw a huge change in the dynamic at my school! Kids that would normally walk right past students in my class started to say “Hello” and it was really exciting to see! It made a huge difference for kids throughout the school to learn more about Autism!
ON APRIL 2ND (LIGHT IT UP BLUE DAY), we encouraged the entire school to wear BLUE!! It was an awesome turnout!! This year, since we do not have school, we are having the kids wear blue on April 6th! We also shared facts about Autism and famous people diagnosed with Autism with the Main Office and they read facts about Autism for the entire month in the morning announcements!!
Another really exciting activity we do for Autism Awareness Month & Day of Acceptance is setting up displays (pictured above and below this)! This makes a HUGE impact on students & general education teachers and administrators! Our media center let us set this up for an entire week so that when kids came to Library they can view the table. Our media center specialist was awesome and answered questions that students had! We set up all of the tools students in our Special Education classes use to learn! Some of the items pictured are: tactile books, communication devices, different types of schedules, adapted books and cause & effect tools.
We try to incorporate different interactive activities to really engage the students throughout the school. We used Occupational Therapy activities like weighted blankets, zipper pulls, sensory bins and art utensils (i.e.adapted scissors, bingo dobbers).
Another fun activity we set up next to the tables was a “pledge” poster that students could sign and show their support for the Day of Acceptance! We will also be doing this for Autism Awareness Month. Students really enjoyed participating this and showing their support!!!
Here is an idea you can use to have general education teachers incorporate Autism Awareness Month into their day! Make a binder with Autism Awareness Activities for General Ed Teachers! I started by printing off Autism Awareness information sheets and tons of activities that teachers could use. I then put each activity in a sheet protector and placed them in a binder. I put the binder next to the school copy machine in the teacher lounge and left a note! I told teachers to please make copies and place the originals back in the binder so that other teachers could use the resources! Activities in my binder included color-by-number, code crackers, K-W-L, writing activities, word searches, a story on Autism, etc! This was so simple to make and it encourages general education teachers to participate more with Autism Awareness Month!!!
DON’T FORGET AUTISM AWARENESS T-SHIRTS!!
I had my class make these really cute puzzle piece t-shirts for “LIGHT IT UP BLUE” Day! They were very simple to make! You need white t-shirts, cut outs of puzzle pieces (5-6 for each student), sponge brushes and 3 different shades of fabric paint! All you do is tape on the puzzle pieces where you want them on the shirt, dab each puzzle piece with a particular paint color (alternate colors for each piece) then have them dry! When dry, peel off each puzzle piece and then you have an amazing Autism Awareness shirt!!
I also designed and had these awesome t-shirts made! I sold them to teachers and administration in our school! We sold over 60 t-shirts and everyone wore them on our Kick-off to Autism Awareness Day!! It really gets students excited to see all the teachers wearing similar t-shirts!!!
In addition to the t-shirts, I made these cards to put with them for teachers who ordered the Autism Awareness t-shirts! We really wanted to thank everyone who participated in our big month!
It also might be a great idea to pass out these cards to students and staff in the hallway who go out of their way to talk and help students with Autism! They really do make a difference!!
Here are some AMAZING videos created by Sesame Street on Autism!! Definitely show in your classes!
Please feel free to share ways that YOU incorporate AUTISM AWARENESS Month into your school!!