“It was really fun blowing bubbles for everybody who is autistic,” said 4th-grader Katie Wilson, left. (photo by Rodney Curtis/SchoolLifeTroy.com)
Celebrating Hats Off to Autism Day and Autism Acceptance Month at Barnard Elementary, staff, students, teachers and administrators wore blue, talked about friendship, then blew bubbles en masse.
“Bubbles are a universal symbol for joy,” said principal Melanie Morey. “They also sometimes represents how children with autism can feel trapped because they can’t always express themselves.”
Principal Morey concluded, “We can burst that bubble through awareness and acceptance.”
Before filing out front to blow bubbles, “nests” of mixed grade-level students met and discussed friendship and autism.
“We’re talking about friendship and why it’s important to children with autism,” said teacher Scott Germansky. “You never know when you’ll make a new friend; there’s always room for one more.”
“They don’t want to be treated differently,” said 4th-grader Nurayda Albeez.
“You have to be there for them and don’t judge them,” explained 5th-grader Kristen Rivett.
“We learned about how to treat people with respect and that everyone’s different,” said Special Ed para Nancy Mosey.
Lesson learned, “Don’t even stare at them,” said kindergartner, Luc Behrens.
Afterward, the students shared their thoughts.
“I thought it was awesome,” said 3rd-grader Marcello Koja. “Everyone was happy, so were the autism kids.”
“It was really fun,” said Zachary Keszo.
“It was interesting. I learned why it’s important for people with autism to have friends; to help them when they’re scared or sad,” said 4th-grader Levi Watson.
“If you don’t have friends, you don’t have fun,” concluded 4th-grader Gracie Nowakowski.