Two Freeport schools recognize Autism Awareness and Acceptance
Posted on 05/08/2023
Two Freeport schools recognize Autism Awareness and Acceptance

As April came to a close, Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School and Columbus Avenue Early Childhood Center recognized Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month in two unique ways. 

The students of Columbus Avenue gathered on the front lawn of their school for a sign and sing event to celebrate neurodiversity and the ways all people are different. Students, staff and administrators all sang along to the song “Spread a Little Sunshine” by Jack Hartmann. They also used American Sign Language to sign the song as a symbol of acceptance for those who are nonverbal or struggle to communicate verbally. 

“Neurodiversity means people can think and behave in unique ways and we don’t have to try to change them,” said Breanne Medici, teacher and member of the Columbus Avenue Neurodiversity Committee. “Columbus Avenue students have learned about the many ways people can be different and embraced these differences to make new friends throughout the school year.” 

Following the sign and sing, students were invited to the gym to participate in exploration stations which included a coloring station, a sensory station and a building station. Each station was designed to show students the different ways in which neurodiverse students learn. 

At Caroline G. Atkinson School, the students in Ms. Alyssa Faulkner’s class created a schoolwide project in which students designed their own handprints depicting images and saying of what makes them unique. Throughout the month, the students came together to create a colorful display across the main hallway that showcased the unique differences between all the students to bring awareness and acceptance to all children and people with autism. 

“The students in my class wanted to bring all the students of Atkinson together to show that we are all different and by embracing those differences we can make the school, and the world, a better place,” said Ms. Alyssa Faulkner. “It took a lot of dedication and effort from the entire school, but the result is a beautifully colored main hallway where we can learn about each other just by taking a quick glance at a few of the handprints.” 

Autism Awareness Month is celebrated throughout the month of April and honors the contribution of neurodiverse people on the autism spectrum and the autism community.