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Autism Acceptance Month Around the District

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West Islip Union Free School District recognized Autism Awareness Month through April by engaging in various activities in each of the school buildings.

On April 5, Beach Street Middle School teacher Marissa Villani and Beach Street staff hosted and developed a Super Fun Sports Night as an inclusive event for students with disabilities and their peers.

Paul J. Bellew Elementary School celebrated all disabilities March and April. On March 21, the students and staff celebrated Down Syndrome Awareness Day by wearing crazy socks which symbolize chromosomes. On April 2, students and staff at Bellew wore blue to recognize and celebrate students with autism. Each year, the classes at Bellew partner with their “buddy class” and do a craft to recognize Disabilities Awareness Month and promote inclusivity. This year, the students colored a butterfly which signifies change and represents the diversity of individuals on the autism spectrum. It also symbolizes the beauty of the differences in people with disabilities and their continued development. The classroom teachers are provided with different books to read aloud to their students which encompasses many different disabilities. On April 19, Bellew celebrated all disabilities by hosting our “Mile for a Smile Walk,” which is a day where students and staff wear blue and walk around the high school track with all of the classes to celebrate diversity of how all students learn.

Other schools throughout the district wear blue to recognize Autism Awareness month. Elementary students read books such “I'm Special, I am Me!” by Ann Meek and Sarah Massini. The high school has posters throughout the school which highlight that “Diversity is our Strength” for World Autism Awareness Month. Manetuck Elementary School decorated its cafeteria with blue lights and is hosting the author Bill Shea on April 30 to read and speak to the students. Bayview Elementary students collaborated in a schoolwide project to support autism awareness and their monthly character trait- friendship. Each grade level was assigned a different color to decorate and personalize with friendship quotes and pictures. The feathers were assembled together to make a pair of rainbow wings. The theme of this project was “Embracing Our Differences.” In another project, classes collaborated to create autism awareness posters that are displayed around Bayview.

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Date Added: 4/22/2024