Monday, May 7, 2012

Eric Solorio HS Students "Cook" with Peers with Severe and Profound Disabilities

As students walk through the halls at Solorio, a cluster of students walk by and some might be in wheelchairs, others might be humming and making noises, but most are smiling. They are stared at, whispered about, and many have questions but do not know how to approach the four or so adults who are walking with them.

This was the typical scenario in the hallways of Solorio until the teachers in the SPH room start to invite teachers from the “regular” divisions on Fridays to “cook” with the students in the Severe and Profound cluster. Teachers were to prepare the students the week prior in a discussion on the different labels of disabilities. They were to write down any questions of behaviors that they might have witnessed in the halls, cafeteria or non content classes that they might share with the SPH kids.

During the assigned day, the division would come down and be exposed to the students, ask their questions, and be educated about the students with severe and profound disabilities. After that portion of the SLC class was complete, the “regular” students would be placed with one of the kids and help them cook. Helping them cook would include helping them identify the different ingredients by pointing or helping them hand over hand pick up the ingredients.

The menu the students have made included: pizza bagels, tostadas, smoothies, fruit salads, and quesadillas. The lesson for the “regular” students is to be exposed, understand, and be aware of what the different behaviors of the students represent.

The experience for the students in the SPH cluster is having “friends” come to the room and help them how to make something good to eat. The week after, division teachers speak with their students about the experience and what did they learn about the kids, their feelings about it, their easy or uneasiness with being with the students.

Various divisions loved the experience enough to inquire how to enhance awareness about disabilities. They have started their own project to come up with stations that mimic disabilities and the trial and tribulations that people with disabilities have to overcome. This will be offered for other divisions to attend during next school years Fridays SLC time.

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