Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer Academic Program a Success

It may be summer, but several ASD kids were still learning during ASRC's Summer Academic Program (ASAP).  Organized by Dorothy Cunningham of ASRC, the purpose was to keep the children learning in an atmosphere conducive to their needs, and to maintain the structure of going to school.  In general, many children lose academic skills over the summer and have a hard time transitioning back to school.  Children on the spectrum often have a harder time than most.  Unfortunately, summer schools are usually not an option.  Cunningham decided to address this gap with two classes a month, including a graduation at the completion. Approximately 15 children benefited from the instruction. 

Classes were taught by certified public school teachers who are familiar with children on the autism spectrum.  Kay Pluta, also a published author, taught writing in creative and fun ways.  Using magnetic words to make sentences and letters on post-it notes to play "Scrabble" on a wall, she kept the kids interested in a skill that is often a challenge.  Mark Christoph, previously a science teacher, taught Earth sciences complete with videos and hands-on rock collections.  Lisa McGrew, a public school teacher and actress, taught social skills using the basics of drama and acting.  Overall, the kids learned some fun lessons, met a few new friends, and will hopefully be better prepared to go back to an academic atmosphere in a few weeks.  A graduation, complete with cake and certificates completed the program.  Congratulations to all the students, and a huge thank you to all of the teacher volunteers and coordinator for making the program so special.