Press release from Fair Haven School District
Each year, an innovative day-long program at Viola L. Sickles School in Fair Haven helps third-grade students explore and celebrate differences. Presented on May 15, Understanding Differences Day featured hands-on activities and presentations throughout the day, hosted by school staff members and volunteers.
Covered topics covered physical disabilities (including visual and hearing impairments), as well as developmental and learning disabilities. Students engaged in interactive learning activities that included the maneuvering of crutches and wheelchairs (supplied by Little Silver Pharmacy), the making of name tags using Braille, and a demonstration of how a visually impaired person might keep track of money and organize food.
Guest speakers included Lori Timney, who is hearing-impaired and who shared her life experiences with students. Volunteer Sarah Maris helped students to understand the challenges faced by individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Down’s syndrome, and cerebral palsy. Sickles School Social Worker Nicole Green and Sickles School Psychologist Ashley Goral hosted an information session about learning disabilities; this session included presentations by students from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School who discussed their personal experiences and ways in which they have learned to cope through the years. At the conclusion of the morning and afternoon sessions, all of the third grade students participated in reflective writing sessions based on what they had learned.