Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Sensational Experience!

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My Students: A hand dryer, a toilet flushing, a hug from a friend! All of these very normal sounds and sensations can be overwhelming for the students in my class because of their placement on the Autism Spectrum. We need a way to experience with our senses in a safe and structured way.
Our class is a Pre-K class for students between the ages of 3-5 with special needs. Their disabilities differ, but most are placed on the Autism spectrum. We are located on an elementary school campus and are the only Pre-K in the district. My students have their days planned full of interventions, assessments and therapy sessions. They are all such little troopers that face great difficulties daily. When they come to school, I want them to be excited and happy. School should be challenging, but there's no reason it can't also be fun! Despite their disabilities, the students in my classroom are just like any other preschooler. They love coming to school and exploring their environment in hands-on ways. We love music, dancing, and art (especially the messy kind!), but our favorite time of the day is story time! If you were to visit our classroom, you would probably be introduced to our favorite book, "Pete the Cat," within the first five minutes of your arrival (probably sooner!).

My Project: Autistic children often have difficulties organizing and processing sensory input. Sights, smells, touches, and sounds may be ignored entirely, or overreacted to. When sensory input is not being managed properly, problems in behavior, learning, and attention may arise. We have attempted to create a miniature sensory center in our classroom by using a radio, a swing, tumbling mats, and aromatherapy; however, we would love to expand this area in our classroom in order to better address our student's entire sensory needs. We are requesting one light table in order to explore sight in a hands-on way. The students will be able to use the translucent Prism Blocks and Climbers in order to explore color, light, and depth perception. The Magna Tiles will be an interesting way for the students to adjust to resistance and pressure. The bean bags will help our students adjust to sitting on different textures, by being enveloped in a soft, squishy chair.
Our class is designed to help prepare students to be able to function in a classroom before entering kindergarten. Some of the biggest issues facing Autistic students in the classroom are behavior, attention and sensory input management. We greatly desire a way to help our students better handle sensory situations, and thereby preparing them to be successful students later on. This sensory station will be a wonderful way to ensure our student's success and development!

My students need a sensory station that will help them with their Autism, as well as give them the sensory input necessary to better help them explore their environment.

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