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5th Grade’s Autism Experience

We have been, and will continue to, talk with all of our students about how our individual differences make us stronger as a Lakeview community as well as a classroom community.  It is what helps us grow, be flexible, learn about things we never even knew existed, and build self-confidence.  On October 19, some staff from Schaumburg’s Floor time Program came  over to meet with our 5th grade staff and students and expand on this idea.  The Floor time staff in District 54 generally work with children on the Autism Spectrum and their families, helping families to understand their child’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs.  While here, they will put our 5th grade community members through a variety of stations that will help everyone understand what it is like to have sensitivities to things like: textures, noise, and visual perceptual input.  Everyone will then have the opportunity to process through how their individual differences contribute to their community and how the individual differences of their classmates add to the strength of their community.

The students experience began with an introduction to the  Autism Experience. The students then rotated through the following 8 stations:

  1. Jump Rope with Yarn
  2. Gloves and stringing beads in ABABAB pattern
  3. Gloves and Goggles – writing name with non-dominant hand
  4. Sensory Scratchers/feathers… soft touch vs hard touch
  5. Color Cupcake to collect and display at Hoffman Estates Cupcake event
  6. Books about Autism to read and Reflections
  7. Autism Sensory Simulation
  8. Tightrope walk with binoculars

To conclude, the students participated in an Autism Movement Therapy activity, followed by individual and classroom reflections. The understanding and empathy students’ gained through this experience is one that they will remember forever.

Then, as a follow up activity on October 27, the 5th grade students will be decorating pre-made cupcakes which will be donated to the Hoffman Estates High School to be sold at their Cupcakes for a Cause 2017 event.  All of the money raised from the event will be donated to Autism research.  During this experience, the students will not be allowed to eat the cupcakes, or any of the ingredients, and they will be wearing gloves for sanitary and personal health reasons.