Making Sense of Autism

Teacher and parents volunteers at Prodell Middle School helped students take a closer look at autism during a recent two-day workshop. Participants were guided through various ”sensory stations” that simulated what touch, smell, motor planning and communication are like for a person living with autism.

“This is a great opportunity for our middle school students to get a better understanding of autism and what day-to-day activities are like when you have it,” said teacher Linda Loscalzo. “They were able to simulate difficulties with social interaction, behavior and verbal and nonverbal communication.”

Before participating in each station’s activities, students were given a brief introduction to the respective topic that detailed facts, and addressed misconceptions about the disorder. Topics discussed included apraxia, the tactile system and auditory processing.

Students also learned the meaning behind the autism ribbon and its design. “The jigsaw puzzle pieces in the ribbon represent the complexity and mystery of autism,” said school social worker Andrea Monz. “The bright colors of the ribbon represent the diversity of the people and families who are affected by autism.”