We still have a few more days left in April to continue to promote autism awareness and improve empathy and understanding. I mean of course we are promoting these year round but April you can really get some bang for your buck – people for some reason feel an extra incentive to listen and you can use the awareness month as an excuse to be a little extra pushy for your cause… nicely of course ;).
The Speech Buddy Blog approached me a few weeks ago to test out their sensory simulator. It is short video simulation which attempts to mimic some of the heightened or weakened perceptions some individuals with autism experience. There is – of course – no preset “way” that sensory differences effect each person. But this video attempts to highlight some of the sensory experiences that are possible.
My first thought while watching it was my lessons about autism for the general education population. Children in early and middle childhood grades have a difficult time understanding the concept of sensory differences. I usually do a few different examples (trying to take a math test while the fire alarm is going off, tag in your shirt feeling like sandpaper, etc.) but it can still be hard to really understand. This video would be great to help these children understand what a trip to the playground can be like for some of our students. And even better and more important than understanding, it might help them have some more empathy towards my students. It may improve their abilities on how to approach them to ask to play in a way that is comfortable for my students. It might help them not stare or laugh when one of my students is having a hard time. Understanding leads to empathy and this is essential to help our students form friendships!
Check it out. It may be helpful to use in your school community!