Bonnie McBeth Learning Center teacher Stephanie Stremp ended a recent class by singing songs with her students, more than half of which are autistic.
Stremp recently used a $1,000 grant from the Kankakee Valley Autism organization to buy seven therapy ball chairs for her classroom that can help increase the students’ social interaction and help focus their attention on the task at hand.
Students can bounce on the “jellyfish chairs” rather than disrupt the class with loud noises or distracting movement, said Stremp, a teacher in the Language Enriched Academic Program (LEAP).
This is one more way Stremp has made special efforts to serve and engage her students, said Kristen Brower, principal at Bonnie McBeth.
About four years ago, Stremp bought a special smartboard with a $2,500 grant, also from the Kankakee Valley Autism organization. The smartboard pulled up the music and words on her smartboard so her 10 students could follow along.
“She is passionate about making learning exciting for her class and she creates an environment where her students are safe and comfortable,” Brower said.
Money raised in the annual Kilbride Family Classic 5K Run/2-mile Walk for Autism pays for the grant.
Julie Gindy with Kankakee Valley Autism said the organization funded seven grants this year.
“We really appreciate teachers like Stephanie who look outside the box to help their students,” Gindy said. “We are very pleased to be able to help them with the financial means to go above and beyond the call of duty.”