As a co-teacher in a large self-contained and resource special education unit, I service many students with Autism and other significant disabilities. While we work hard every day to help our students succeed with their basic academic skills, we sometimes struggle to incorporate hands-on experiences, especially in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. My students all have moderate to severe disabilities, and most of them struggle daily with skills such as talking to others and completing hands-on tasks.
My project addresses the question of how might a variety of hands-on, social play-based STEAM learning tools help my students with disabilities become engaged in STEAM activities, and how might these experiences and skills lead to opportunities for transition into the real world and work force? Having the means to incorporate several different types of STEAM-based activities into our daily and weekly routines will allow my students to access the engagement of STEAM, while also working on their social play skills.
This project will hone skills such as technology skills, following directions, sequencing, and creating. They will be able to see their work come to life, and share it with others. I think this will give my students a great sense of pride and accomplishment, as well as ownership of their learning. Additionally, having STEAM related technical skills, such as coding, will help my older students to hone job skills which may in turn help them enter the work force successfully. These skills will also help them to transition to the real world by honing their social skills and giving them a hobby to enjoy.