Our school serves students in K-8. We offer an Autism Academy and Intellectually disabled program. My class has six profoundly nonverbal autistic students. Many parents travel from far each day in order for the students to attend this special academy. Although my students are in fifth grade and are between the ages of 9-10 years old, academically they are at a pre-k to kindergarten level. Traditional paper and pencil teaching doesn't allow them to access their education. They learn through hands-on activities and visuals. They love to do art projects and they have a large need for sensory activities. We do all hands-on activities using many different types of materials.
Every child has the ability to learn, just in their own way and in their own time. Even though this is a fifth grade classroom, my students are functioning at a pre-k to kindergarten level. They have a wide range of abilities and needs. I have students that are unable to identify letters of the alphabet and numbers to being able to put puzzles together. They learn best through hands-on activities. These activities include using manipulatives, sensory items and technology. Having autism, they have high sensory needs. I am requesting several sensory objects to help them receive the sensory input they are desperately seeking and need.
Traditional paper/pencil lessons are very difficult for my students; they need the lessons to be hands-on and interactive.
They need to be able to hold and use the items in order to help them understand the concept being taught. I have to create differentiated activities for every lesson. In order to achieve this, I try and use colors and manipulatives in almost all activities. Many of the items I am requesting have to do with science and math. These subjects are best learned for all by seeing and doing. Having these items will allow my students the opportunity to interact with the items. Items like the STEM kits go with the stories we are reading during ELA but they are then going to be able to work with me in solving a problem. Items like the Hands-On Science Specimen center will allow my students to actually hold and see replicas of the animals. The other items like measurement kits, and size and counting will all help them to learn their math concepts.
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