Prompt#3 – Quick Guide for the Educator

With this prompt, I verd off my original concept of clothing for children with autism and explored making a quick guide book of things that should be known for teachers, EA’s and any other staff members who interact with these children.

This wasn’t the easiest prompt for me as I had to do some real research into what is taught at the university level and what information that is given to teacher candidates. From a previous conversation I had with a professor at UFV, I was able to get one of the text books that is used in their lessons, to gather some of the information needed to help me with this book.

I wasn’t 100% how I was going to do this book and I had to go against all my insecurities of not doing it correctly and just trust the processes. I started by opening my InDesign program and what I did was set up a table of contents of what I would like to see in the booklet/book. This wasn’t a firm and final list but more of a guide to where I’d like to direct the content and if in my research found different or better topics, then I would accommodate accordingly.

I wanted this to be a quick guide for an educator to pick up and have a quick look if they just needed a quick review or if they couldn’t remember something. It is not to take place of any other educational readings or real life experiences.

The first thing I wanted to put in this book was the definition of autism according to the government as the schools and school district took guidance from the government. This is to set the tone for the book and to lead with understanding of what the clinical definition of the condition.

The book is very simple and to the point, with not a whole lot of writing but more of lists and general guidance of knowledge.

While I was making this guide book, I was finding different activities that were age appropriate for elementary school children with autism and would be acceptable for children without autism. So I gathered all those activities as well and make an activity book to correspond with the guide book.

I was happy with my little books and thought why don’t I make a keychain version of the guide book that could fit on a lanyard and be a quick reference. I also would like to hand these out to a school and see what actual educators thought of this little reference book to see if it was a help in any way. I may do this for our summer directives.

Prompt #2 – Sweetgrass Sensory Classroom Experiment

For this experiment, I wanted to do a little experiment with my classmates to see how they would react to basic learning but making it an accessible learning environment for all. This experiment will involved the senses, numbers, etc. I want everyone to have fun, while learning that shifting to make a classroom accessible you can still learn effectively the basic educational curriculum. I knew with the age group I was presenting this workshop to that I wouldn’t get any new or surprising reactions but it would be more of what they would say about it is what I wanted to learn.

I made these sensory bins with stuff mostly from the dollar store. I didn’t want to spend too much but get the same effect. I purchased, foam sand, play-doh, pop-rocks and glitter, glue to make glitter clamming bottles. I then made tie bags to house these items in and ironed on numbers so everyone would know which one was next. Lastly, I made completion awards for everyone who had participated in the workshop to show my appreciation.

To start this experiment, I placed the desks in a u-shape facing the overhead projector. I put the sensory bins with their names on them in random spots as they couldn’t sit with their “friends.” I then told them they couldn’t open the bin until instructed to. I did this so everyone would get the same opportunity to open it.

I went through each item and gave everyone about 5 minutes to play with it and really get involved. At this time I would take some pictures without classmates faces in it. I didn’t want them to feel obligated to smile or give a projected expression. I wanted them to feel their natural responses.

Everything was moving along well and thought everyone was enjoying the workshop until I got to the slide where I had said this is what we learned. Some participants were not reflective or wanted to agree with my overview. This is where I got my feedback and where I could have improved the workshop. Even though the workshop itself was not a huge success, it was the feedback that was successful and will help guide the next workshop I host.

Prompt #1 – Expanding into Accessories & Adults

To start off this semester, I wanted to continue with some of the feedback I had received from my Peer Feedback session last semester. A few of my peers had suggested to expand from clothing and try accessories or even design these things for adults.

I wanted to design these accessories with the main idea of incorporating the therapeutic devices that would be needed for people with autism. I came up with four main items that I wanted to construct but with the time constraints I would only be able to make 1 or 2 of these items. I wanted these items to still have that discreteness to them and look like any other item someone would purchase.

The first item I chose to make was the fingerless squishy ball gloves. I wanted it to have that stress relieving qualities and keep it hidden.

Squishy Balls used in gloves

I used the same squishy balls that I had used from the squishy vest I had made last semester.

Fabric and lining cut out

The fabric I used was a cotton jersey knit, to keep the hands from over heating and added a stylish label. These gloves are lined with the same fabric to keep the consistency. These gloves were a basic design with some gathers in the front to add some detail. The squishy ball is enclosed in the palm area of the glove between the main fabric and the lining and two stiches to prevent the ball from moving around in the glove.

The one thing I kept doing while making these was to try them on to make sure it wasn’t too tight and that the compression was not too much. I wanted to make sure that the squishiness was adequate without adding too much bulk to the palm of the glove.

When I presented to the class, I was surprised how many of my classmates loved these gloves and tried them on and said they would love a pair. This was a successful experiment!