One of FCCLA’s Educational Outreach Partners is Autism Speaks, which is a non-profit that works to fund research into the prevention, treatments and cure for autism. The organizations goal is to increase people’s awareness of autism spectrum disorders and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Oregon FCCLA State Vice-President of Public Relations, Katelyn Curtis and a fellow chapter member organized a “Light It Up Blue Week” for their junior high to promote Autism Speaks and autism awareness. Here is Katelyn’s recap of what they did throughout the week at Enterprise Junior High.
Learning at the 2013 National Conference that FCCLA had partnered with Autism Speaks, I decided that I wanted to do a project that helped increase my fellow peers awareness of autism spectrum disorder. This project was very personal to me, because I have a relative that is diagnosed with autism, and I not only wanted to further educate myself about autism, but also my peers. My partner and I decided to call our project “Light It Up Blue Week”. Throughout the week the Enterprise Junior High student participated in games, activities, and competition. We also put up fats about autism spectrum disorder each day for students to see.
· On Monday, we gave a brief introduction to what we would be doing for the rest of the week, handed out Autism Speaks wristbands and gave students a challenge to wear them all week. If they wore their wristbands all week they would receive a prize.
· Tuesday, we played a game called "how many are in the jar?". We filled a mason jar and full it with blue and white m&ms and put the jar in a junior high classroom with a bucket where they could write their name and their guess. At the end of the week we selected a winner who was closest to the actual amount. We choose blue and white m&ms, because they are the colors that represent Autism Speaks.
· Wednesday, we did a scavenger hunt for blue puzzle pieces, which represented Autism Speaks logo. To get the students really interested in the scavenger hunt we made it a competition between the seventh and eighth grade. Throughout the day they looked for puzzle pieces and by the end of the day, whichever class has the most pieces won a “Snack Certificate” to the FACS Room.
· On Thursday, we held a large assembly and a contest to see who could wear the most blue! During the assembly we talked with them about autism spectrum disorder, and what Autism Speaks does to help individuals and families with autism. We will also played a short sound track of what it would be like to have autism. This helped give students who do not have autism a better understanding of what it might be like to have autism.
The Enterprise School District has a number students that have autism. With starting this project we wanted to make sure we were careful and presented the information in a way that would help other understand autism better and be educated on it. We believe that our “Light It Up Blue Week” was very successful in finding interactive and fun ways to help promote autism awareness.
For more information on Autism Speaks, you can visit www.autismspeaks.org