Monday, May 16, 2016

Growing Awareness Month: Success! By: Diana Patterson

Hi Star Families,
I am happy to announce that Growing Awareness Month was a complete success and the committee is jumping for joy!  We began the month with a Blue Spirit Day. Both students and teachers wore blue to support Autism. During the month the committee read to each class about the different “invisible disabilities”. We accomplished this by choosing age appropriate books on the topic. This is our third year reading to the kiddos about Autism and we can see they are grasping and understanding the information.  We had wonderful discussions and breakthrough moments.  

Star Academy 3rd Grade Class. Photo Credit: Susie Steinlein

Star Academy Kindergarten Class

Emily Shane, Star Academy’s art teacher joined in our committee and pitched in by incorporating our theme “Growing our Awareness”  into her art classes and creating a beautiful display in one of our halls.  She has written the following:
In art class, we touched briefly on each of the disorders and watched short video clips about each one.  Our focus in Art was primarily on how artwork and public displays can help bring awareness to any cause.  We discussed the traditional symbol for Autism and the colors most associated with it, and how color and symbols are used to help our brains make connections with specific words or concepts.  Students were so excited to have their individual artwork on a puzzle piece as contribution to the collaborative art display.”


To help our parents stay informed and learn more about each disability we posted 5 facts on our school Facebook page every Monday in April.  Additionally, our school counselor Caroline Hines created a Growing Awareness checklist to help get our students making outside connections.  Below is a poster one student created to describe what acceptance means.


This year we created an anonymous form to give other parents a way to share their experiences.  We had a great post written about #Anxiety and #ADHD from a teacher, click here to check it out!  Jenifer Pearsall wrote a post about getting an #Autism diagnosis,  click here to see it!  Diana Patterson shared a post about her son’s #Autism diagnosis, click here to read more about it.  
Also new this year was our movie night! We donated all the proceeds to our local UC Davis Mind Institute!  It was such a great success. We fundraised $225!!!! Can I get a round of applause?! Thank you so much! These funds will go to purchase toys to use during therapy sessions. If you want to read more about the Tadpole study please click here.

Last but not least we had a successful toy drive. We had 54 donations which included toy sets, sensory balls, legos, books, art supplies, and puzzles. Here’s a picture of some of the toys!


2016 was an amazing year for Growing Awareness Month.  Thank you so much Star families for all your support and compassion.  Please don’t hesitate to contact Jenifer Pearsall and Diana Patterson if you have any comments, questions, or concerns.  Lastly, if you would like to join our committee please let us know! Next year we will have more classes and we also want to expand this to the main campus.  Thank You!!!

Jenifer Pearsall:
Diana Patterson:

Left: Caroline Hines, Center: Jenifer Pearsall, Right: Diana Patterson

Parent Training April 2015