Autism Awareness: What Kids Need To Know About Autism
April is Autism Awareness Month and this year I wanted to focus on helping kids in elementary school develop an understanding of autism and also how they can be a friend to someone with autism.
Thirty years ago when I was in elementary school, autism was not something people discussed. If they had, then my classmates and I could have responded better to a student who was diagnosed with autism. He was bright and was a top student in our class when it came to math and science.
However, he had another side that kept me and my classmates on edge. He would often lose it and start screaming if the classroom got too noisy and sometimes he would throw his school supplies when he got mad. He didn’t seem interested in making friends and kept to himself. We all thought he was weird and pretty much stayed away from him. I can’t imagine how lonely and hurt he must’ve felt.
Raising autism awareness in school-aged children is important because with the high rates of children being diagnosed with autism, they are bound to come into contact with someone with autism. Helping typical children understand what autism is will help them learn to accept their peers who are living with autism.
I created this Autism Awareness lesson to help parents, educators, and counselors talk to typical children about kids with autism. It discusses autism in language kids can understand and is perfect for children in grade 3 through grade 6.
This lesson includes an informational booklet (in color and black and white). Take a look at the sample below:
Also included with this unit is a set of 20 task cards to assess if kids understand what you have taught them about autism. Here is an example of the task cards:
Helping to raise autism awareness in children teaches them to accept and include people who are different from them. Everyone is unique and special in their own way and that should be celebrated!
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