Thursday, April 2, 2015

World Autism Awareness Day with Cynthia Lord

As many of you know, April is Autism Awareness month, and today is World Autism Awareness Day. There are lots of great organizations and groups all over the world holding events today to raise awareness for Autism. I'm so proud to say that Sexton Mountain is one of those stellar groups!

Today, Cynthia Lord came to Sexton to discuss some of her amazing books. She talked about her inspirations and processes, and read parts of her books. We were so excited for this opportunity to meet such a talented and inclusive writer, but as the day got closer and closer, Miss Amanda and I started to get a little nervous about the set up of the presentations. There were 2 big presentations (K-2 and 3-5) in a darkened library, with lots of people in a very different format, at a very different time. We brainstormed with Mrs. Kimball, and thought it might be a better experience for our kids if we came in smaller groups during our normal library time. We still had great presentations in a new space, but with a little bit calmer of an environment for our sensory needs. Mrs. Kimball said she would talk to "Ms. Cyndi" and see what she thought. Ms. Cyndi was delighted to change the style of her presentation for our kids. As a mother of a child impacted by Autism, and as the author of such amazing books, she was so thrilled to meet us, and more than happy to make any accommodations we needed.

Ms. Cyndi read us her book, Hot Rod Hamster and shared real pictures of her family's pets that inspired the characters. She talked in a quiet voice, with excited inflection for the parts she wanted us to see were exciting. She metered her cadence to match the rhymes perfectly, knowing that would help get our attention. She pointed out the details of the colors, wheels and emotions in a way that was very engaging. She asked questions that were perfect for us, and replied to every comment we made. She took pictures with us, and sat and talked to us while we colored pictures of the hot rod hamster. She talked with each student as they checked out their library books, and gave enthusiastic high fives!

Huge THANK YOU to the Sexton Mountain PTC, the Sexton Mountain Literacy Committee, Mrs. C-B, Mrs. Kimball and Ms. Cyndi. What a special day!

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