by Lynne Mehley Eddis, Catapult Learning
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 59 children in the United States have autism. Autism is not a predictable or uniform disability – it presents differently in every child – so there’s no “one size fits all” approach to autism education. To show special education students at the High Road Academy of Wallingford that autism shouldn’t keep them from pursuing their dreams, administrators recently invited in an “openly and proudly autistic” politician and professor to speak at the school.
Sarah Selvaggi-Hernandez and her story of overcoming the challenges of living with autism caught the attention of school officials after her election to the Enfield, Connecticut Board of Education in late 2017. High Road Academy Educational Director Sue Gilleaudeau invited Hernandez, who is also an assistant professor of occupational therapy at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Mass., to tour the school and meet with students.
During her time at High Road Academy, Hernandez toured the campus and gave a presentation to students, bringing her positive outlook and inspiring attitude to the classroom. She encouraged the students to be the most influential voice in their life and to know their rights. Hernandez also discussed her strategies for coping with stressful situations and asked students about theirs….
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