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Kindergarten Classroom Fills Special Niche

Posted at: 04/17/2013 5:49 PM
Updated at: 04/17/2013 6:26 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- If it's been a while since you've been in a classroom, you might be in for a surprise.

They've changed a lot over the years.

Some more than others.

When Woodson kindergarten center in Austin got a make-over, one area got made-over differently than the others.

"We had our old office space, and that was re-purposed now for an autism classroom," Woodson principal Jessica Cabeen told us.

“Students with autism have a very difficult time organizing their system," Woodson ECSE teacher Marybeth Petersen added.

"It's a dedicated space for students who have a variety of needs, whether it be academic, sensory, social-emotional or behavioral," principal Jessica Cabeen said.

"So you'll see a variety of different assistive technology devices in there, a variety of different chairs or visual boards."

"We call this the sensory motor room, and it just kind of gets their engines started for the day," ECSE teacher Marybeth Petersen said, showing off a class room filled with floor mats, swings, rope ladders and other tactile items.

"Kids with autism, many of them have the skills, it's just being able to organize it all and filter it," Marybeth Peterson explained.

“It may look different for every child. Some of them may go in and out during social time, some of them go in and out during math instruction or reading instruction," Jessica Cabeen explained.

“One of the best things this year is we have a bathroom in our room. I also have a quiet corner that the kids can resort to if the classroom is too much," Marybeth Petersen said.

“Work with them to really enhance their ability to learn and be successful in that main-stream setting as well," added Woodson principal Jessica Cabeen.

The second-annual "Stepping Out For Autism" fund-raising walk will be held this weekend in Austin. It starts at ten o'clock Saturday morning at the Mill Pond.