Elisabeth's Science Project
A few days ago, I attended my daughter's science exhibit focusing on the human body made by her classmates at Bobby B. Fairfax. Except for the written descriptions on the wall, it was no ordinary science exhibit. The focus for her wasn't entirely about becoming more familiar with the function of each body part on exhibit there. The focus was to allow her to explore in an environment that challenged her individual area of skill and ability.
Elisabeth's contribution was explaining the "tongue." Instead of explaining the "tongue" through her usual fixation of self-stimming, her teacher gave her visual cues to explain the tongue using her techtalk. She also make a model of the tongue that was small enough to place in her hand for sensory input, but large enough so it wouldn't end up in her mouth.
Elisabeth was engaged in a purposeful and meaningful environment that was challenging for her. At the "hand" exhibit, she was reaching out to objects that that would buzz, clang, or crash on touch. At the lung exhibit, she was provided appropriate sensory stimulation holding baggies made to look like lungs that inflated and deflated on touch making a crinkly sound. I think her favorite was the "nose" exhibit station where her fellow student pressed a button to make a "sneeze" from a spray bottle.
What I learned from the students who put on the Science Exhibit at the school, is that when we create opportunities for children to learn according to their personal area of development, skill level, and ability, they will succeed.