Raising Autism Awareness at ISP: Like Pieces of a Puzzle We All Fit Together

Can you tell us more about how the campaign was started?

Absolutely! So it all started with a family of a student with autism who reached out to us about doing an activity in his classroom to commemorate autism awareness day on April 2nd. When we received that email it inspired us to celebrate with the whole elementary school and not just one classroom. So that everyone's awareness could be increased. 

What activities were planned to help raise awareness?

We did a few things, one important thing was student awareness and so in collaboration with the counselors, they used our morning meeting and closing routines in the classroom to bring in videos and start a discussion about autism and educate students on inclusion. Then, the students completed their own puzzle pieces with what they learned about autism and made each piece unique. 

Afterward, we put their puzzle pieces together on our mural to symbolize that even though we are all different, we all fit together.  We then extended this to the hallways of the elementary school pasting some puzzle pieces and key information about autism on columns and walls. We also had a speaker come from the US and give a short professional development autism workshop to teachers to learn more about the condition and how we can better teach students with diverse needs. 

How does a campaign like this relate to our character profile? 

It fits with everything. We are authentic when we embrace that we are all different, we are independent when we can stand up for each other and for our own needs, we are compassionate when we can make friends that we didn’t have before, we are principled when we understand we’re different, we are joyful when we include each other and we are always adventurous when we just venture outside our comfort zone and become friends with others. So that’s what we really wanted the elementary community to embrace.  We definitely want inclusion to be a pillar of our school community; so that’s another venue that we use, it is not just about autism even though autism is what we started everything with, but it’s about including all of our differences.