School: Sawgrass Bay Elementary School, Clermont, FL
Teacher: Ms. Thornton
Project: Donate the necessary materials to help students with autism develop social skills.
The Students Ms. Thornton's class is composed of special needs children who deserve the best education possible. This is not always possible when supplies are limited, budgets are being cut, the technology they have is archaic, and the teacher is forced to constantly reach into her own limited finances to make purchases for class. Most of the students are on the spectrum and have a variety of special needs such as social personal skills education, occupational, physical and speech therapy, and basic life skills which are essential for everyday living. The tools and supplies they need to be successful are not part of the typical school budget. With the state continuing to cut funds and IDEA being drastically reduced, Ms. Thornton needed to reach out for more assistance.
The Project The students each struggle with the basic social skills we take for granted on a daily basis. In class they are learning to share, take turns, and be patient (in small doses). Ms. Thornton had the opportunity to borrow some of the books she asked for and read them to the students, and they are written in a way that the students can relate to and understand. For example, they can all identify with 'don't be a soda pop head'. Having these materials as part of her class to refer to on a daily basis would be greatly beneficial to the students. Social skills are highly necessary for all students but especially students on the spectrum and they are often something that are often overlooked as part of the daily curriculum. Learning these social skills now will not only help the students become better individuals but also assist them in coping with their differences. By learning better social skills the students will have the opportunity for a better future.
We were very touched by Ms. Thornton's story and realized that we had to help out her students since there were not many other resources left available that would provide for them. After providing the funding for the materials she requested, she sent us very sweet thank you letter:
Students on the Spectrum often times lack the necessary Social Skills to be successful in school and life. With the curriculum that was purchased with the assistance of donors choose and the awesome donors who gave, my students will be able to immerse themselves in a curriculum that is rich with the necessary social skills they will need to be successful in life. The books that were selected were careful though out because they are relatable and easy to understand for my class. They speak to the students on their level, break concepts down and allow the are filled with colorful pictures that catch the students eye. My students love when new books come into the classroom. Unfortunately, many of the books we receive are often times used books and are not brand new. For my students to be able to have brand new books in their possession truly makes their day. It adds to their self esteem and worth when they get new books because it makes them feel important. Thank you for helping add to those feelings!
We were very happy to hear that the new books and materials will be able to help these students, and we can't wait to help the next classroom in need. If you would like to help out the schools in your community, visit www.donorschoose.org