I teach 6 AMAZING students with autism that require them to be taught in a separate class called Connections. We are located in the western suburbs of Chicago. Each and every student brings such a different personality and strengths to our classroom.
Autism is a developmental disability that affects the way our students interact and communicate with others.
Autism is a spectrum disorder and our students' skills and abilities fall all over the range of the spectrum. We have students who are approaching grade level academically as well as students who are not yet communicating verbally. Each of our students is unique and has their own strengths, gifts, and support needs. All of our students need support in the areas of communication, behavior, social interaction, and daily living skills.
Our students need access to books that can be adapted to meet their needs. During group instruction, our students benefit from the use of visual supports in addition to the pictures in books. In our class, one of the most effective ways to participate in reading, even for students that are not yet speaking, is to match picture icons to pictures in a book. These picture icons can be used to sequence parts of a story, retell parts of the book, make choices, answer questions, and increase attention and focus while participating. Stories become interactive rather than just passive. This allows our students to be engaged from the start. Many general education classes are able to quickly pick up a library book for instruction, but because additional visual supports are used in our room, we often need to velcro and laminate pages of the book, which unfortunately is not possible with borrowed books.
Your generous donation to our project will improve our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade self-contained autism classroom by building stronger receptive and expressive language, increasing focus and attention during instruction, and giving students access to a wide range of thematic stories.
This will change our students' lives for the better. They will be accessing new vocabulary and increasing their literacy skills, all while having fun learning!
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