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As we head into Autism Awareness Month, Joseph Postiglione, a teacher at West Orange’s Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, is raising money for a special project: a courtyard specifically adapted for students on the autism spectrum.
Postiglione works with non-verbal 3th-5th graders with autism who are “absolutely amazing in their own ways with their own individual strengths.” In 2018 he started a GoFundMe page to create an autism-friendly courtyard on school property. His new project will expand the the courtyard into a garden so that students can be “creative and socialize with each other as well as start their path on learning important life skills.” An activity like gardening, he says, “gives them the perfect blend of those skills in an outdoor environment that they can create as well as work in.” In addition his students will decide themselves how to set up the new space, which will help them with communication skills.
“For example, the picnic table can be used for games, planting, socializing, etc. But where to put them? The students will help design this courtyard which will grow from the garden of things that they are planting.” explained Postiglione.
His wishlist includes a picnic table, a trampoline, a work station table with a sink, an outdoor potting bench, a wheelbarrow, stepping stones to work on balance. To contribute, click here.