Brookdale students learn about autism in the world

Photo by Daniel Jackovino
Jason Triano organized an autism awareness event for the students at Brookdale.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Brookdale Elementary School recognized Autism Awareness Day by having an online, interactive classroom lesson Friday, April 7. Because it was an online presentation, all classes could participate as one. Sunday, April 2, was the actual date of World Autism Day this year.

The lesson was created by resource teacher Jason Triano. Its subject matter was the facts and fictions surrounding people on the autism spectrum.

One of the misconceptions the lesson tried to dispel was that all children on the autism spectrum had learning disabilities.

“It’s learning differences,” Triano said. “Some kids are hands-on, visual or auditory. Some kids have social issues but not academic issues.”

The running time of the presentation was 20 minutes. Triano said it took him about two hours to make and parts were taken from the Internet.

It was projected onto classroom display boards. The students were required to post answers to question they were being asked, and post some of their own questions. At command central, located in the main office of the school, Triano could keep an eye on the responses.

The purpose of the lesson was to teach children how they could become more inclusive. Each class also had a puzzle piece that was interlocked and presented on a first-floor display wall.

Triano received assistance on the video lesson and the display wall from Danielle Rothenberger, Victoria Stamoutsos and Samantha Lindsay. The two other Brookdale resource teachers helping out were Jillian Schneider, and Andrea Bonanno. A fourth resource teacher, Deanna Simone, is on maternity leave.

The classroom teachers told Triano that their students were very involved with the lesson of understanding challenges faced by children on the autism spectrum.
“The lesson was a good practice of trying to learn from everyone,” Triano said.

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