It’s a smart thing for kids to do in July: attend a summer camp.
Sense the Fun is a five-day art camp for children with disabilities in Kindergarten to Grade 2, and it starts Monday at the Burlington Art Center.
“Students will explore sight, touch, taste, sound and smell in a fun and supportive environment,” said Tammy McCoy, Director of ACB. “Each day, this adaptive learning course will include sensory and learning activities related to one of the five senses. Students will be engaged in literacy, painting, crafts and more.
Teacher Laura Blanchard created the class and limited this inaugural run to six students. Blanchard is in his eighth year of teaching special education at Danville Junior / Senior High School and has worked with the disabled population for over 10 years. While attending college at Clarke University in Dubuque, she spent three years at Area Residential Care, an organization that provides services to people with developmental disabilities.
“I stayed in college for two more years to get my teaching diploma,” she said. “I also have a degree in philosophy, so I really enjoy working with the population. I like to think about and respond to their needs and adapt the program and the courses.
Blanchard created the class to embrace the five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing.
“I thought this would be the best way to incorporate a lot of sensoriality into this class,” she said. “It’s for kids entering kindergarten through grade two. I think we might have a little older kid, who still wanted to take the course.” Monday’s class focuses on sight.
“One of our activities is to take 20-ounce soda bottles and we’re going to dab the bottom with paint and then dab on a paper to make flowers pretty to look at,” Blanchard mentioned.
One consideration is that the bottles are easy to pick up with one or two small hands, or with the help of Blanchard or the accompanying adult.
They will also dip vegetables in paint and draw pictures with them.
“Another thing we’re going to do on Monday is make an I-Spy bottle,” Blanchard said.
These are liter bottles filled with rice and containing items such as a penny, pencil, paper clip, etc. you have to shake the bottle to find these items.
Blanchard suspects that a barrier to class registration may have been that an adult is required to accompany each student to meet all of their needs.
There is no stipulation as to the type of handicap.
“It’s wide open – if a child is diagnosed with a disability or neurodivergency, they are welcome to the classroom,” Blanchard said.
Blanchard said neurotypical students – children without learning disabilities – can also enroll.
“This kind of inclusion and diversity is really great, mixing the class up and having some diversity,” she said.
Blanchard’s almost 5-year-old daughter Evelyn O’Brien is neurotypical and enjoyed experimenting with some of the art materials while her mother spoke.
Blanchard said she hopes to do more of this type in the future.
“This is the first course that is offered specifically for young people with disabilities,” she said. “I write grants for the Art Center; we are looking for grants to write for programming so that we have more opportunities that don’t cost, so that we can open up opportunities where we can do private lessons and we don’t have to worry about an adult coming in. So that’s a long-term goal. “And the bottles will come back on scent day.
“We’re going to re-stamp the soft drink bottles, then we’re going to stick some felt in the center and put a drop of essential oil on it to make the flowers smell,” Blanchard explained.
So, Coke or Pepsi?
“All that has been given,” Blanchard said with a smile. It certainly makes sense – to anyone.
Sense the Fun Camp runs at 1 p.m. for one hour each day from Monday July 5 to Friday July 9 at the Art Center of Burlington, 301 Jefferson St.
The fees are $ 30 for members of the Art Center, $ 40 for non-members. If there are economic difficulties, scholarships are available. This camp is aimed specifically at students with disabilities.
At this time, we recommend that people who have not yet been vaccinated wear masks during the Art Center classes. This is subject to change based on CDC and state guidelines.
Visit artcenterofburlington.com or call (319) 754-8069 for more information.
Neurodivergent vs Neurotypical
Neurodiversity has its roots in the social model of disability, which views disability as a matter of civil rights. The social model rejects the idea that an individual must be “normal” to benefit from the full range of human experience, arguing that a disability should not be a barrier to inclusion or access.
Neurodivergent refers to an individual who exhibits less typical cognitive variation such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or other learning disabilities.
Neurotypical describes individuals with typical developmental, intellectual and cognitive abilities. In other words, it is not used to describe people with autism or another developmental difference. NT, an abbreviation for neurologically typical, is a new term used in the autistic community as a label for people without autism.
Here’s what Leia Weathington says on Daivergent.com, a public benefit company dedicated to the autism and developmental disability community:
“The term neurodivergent is used to describe a variety of conditions related to cognitive abilities, although more often than not people with these conditions prefer neurodiverse. It applies to conditions such as autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Neurodiverse Individuals often struggle with general skills, especially those that apply to social interactions Unexpected physical behaviors such as standing too close to someone One or too loud speaking occurs in people with autism, self-soothing movements like rocking or irregular hand movements may also be present.In people with Tourette, verbal and physical tics are hallmarks of the condition.
“The term was coined by sociologist Judy Singer, who goes into more detail in her book Disability Discourse:” For me, the key meaning of the autism spectrum lies in its calling and anticipation of a diversity policy. neurological, or “neurodiversity.” The neurological differents represent a new addition to the familiar political class / gender / race categories and will increase knowledge of the social model of disability. ‘
“Neurodiversity is an idea that takes into account variations in the human brain regarding learning, mood, attention, sociability, and other mental functions that do not pathologize conditions, which means they do not. are not seen as abnormal or unhealthy but as differences to be understood and worked with. He largely rejects the medical model of disability.
Learn more about autism through the Autistic Self Advocacy Network at https://autisticadvocacy.org.