On Thursday, April 23, 2015, the Gamma Student Chapter of NCCTM hosted members of the High Functioning Autism Program from CM Eppes Middle School. Macayla Cayton and Nicholas Kruchten, two seventh grade students participating in the HFA program at Eppes, presented information about autism and the challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum to a crowd of 70 attendees from a variety of program areas. Ms. Cole, Mrs. Brown, and Ms. Harrell, teachers in the HFA program, attended the presentation with Macayla and Nicholas.
After the presentation, attendees split into three smaller groups and had the opportunity to participate in five stations designed to help others experience how individuals on the autism spectrum process sensory input differently than others. These stations included Visual Perception, Visual/Coordination Perception, Auditory Processing, Fine Motor Skills Center, and Attention and Sensory. Attendees that were not participating in stations engaged in an informal question and answer session with a 6th grade science teacher from CM Eppes and a MATE Senior 2 intern from JH Rose High School. Each of these individuals teaches students that are part of the HFA programs at their respective schools. Both Macayla’s and Nicholas’ mothers fielded questions from the group, as well as Ms. Cole.
Everyone gathered together to end the meeting on this final thought from Macayla, “We are not autistic students, we are students with autism. Think about it. Thank you for coming tonight!”