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Ledbury Park E&MS awash in blue to support Autism awareness

Ledbury Park E&MS awash in blue to support Autism awareness

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

TDSB schools regularly strive to create spaces that are inclusive and welcoming to all. Recently, Ledbury Park E&MS showed off its welcoming and inclusive side and was awash in blue, as students and staff threw support behind Autism Ontario and worked to raise almost $5000 to raise awareness.

The school created a video, organized a day of walk-a-thons on World Autism Day, and held themed events such as "Crazy, Sassy, Cool Hat Day" and hot chocolate day for fundraising activities. Boys ranging from grades 6 to 8 in the school’s Autism ISP class led the way, creating posters, writing announcements, and telling all of their friends about each event. “Most importantly they felt excited and a sense of responsibility and involvement within the school,” said teacher Taylor MacDonald. All of the money that was raised went towards Autism Ontario for further research and awareness of Autism. 

Perhaps the most impactful strategy the boys developed was the creation of a class video to help teach other students at the north Toronto school more about Autism. “We discussed different ideas and feelings towards Autism as a group and then students did a little research of their own,” said MacDonald. 

The final result was a video that each student in the class helped to develop and that was shown to every student in grades 1 to 8 of the school. After the video screening, a grade 8 student who has Asperger's Syndrome and is fully integrated into the grade 8 program delivered a moving speech. He discussed his experiences as a student with Autism and some of the challenges that he faces, as well as his strengths and talents in particular subjects such as technology and computers. His schoolmates listened intently to his message of embracing differences and then promptly showed their support by participating in a walk-a-thon. 

“Ledbury has this great inclusive feeling, where everyone is welcomed,” said MacDonald. “Students are constantly stopping our boys in the hallways to initiate conversations with them, and give them high fives--it's such a great thing to see, and the smiles on our boys’ faces say it all.”

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