AM Story Intermediate students learn about differences and special abilities with a new collection of approximately 150 books focused on special needs.
The new collection is made possible by a $2,500 grant from the Palestine Independent School District Education Foundation and arrives at the school library just ahead of World Down Syndrome Day March 21 and Autism Awareness Day. April 2nd.
Circulating the picture and chapter books will increase students’ awareness and acceptance of others with special needs such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia, Disabilities visual and auditory and the use of a wheelchair. The books create awareness through characters with special needs.
School librarian Candace Titlow said the collection can encourage acceptance and understanding of others through literature.
“The goal is to make students more aware, fundamentally, that being different is good,” Titlow said. “Sometimes you see students who are afraid of other students with disabilities and you see them not accepting them or turning away from them.”
Titlow introduces the Picture Books and Chapter Books, which are from various authors and publishers, with a brief video and discussion this month.
Fifth-grade student Kaysia Coleman, who selected a book from the new collection called “As Brave As You” by Jason Reynolds, said there was a need to better understand others with special abilities. She has first-hand experience because her sister, also 10, uses a wheelchair and a walker.
Leha Compton, also in fifth grade, described the main character in her book, who has cerebral palsy:
“She’s having trouble controlling certain muscles in her body,” Compton said. “And when she walks, she seriously limps.”
Ja.Marcus Hall, also 10, selected a picture book whose main character uses a wheelchair.
Ruth Mondich, Admissions Review and Expulsions Facilitator, who co-wrote the grant application with Titlow, said she hopes to expand special needs collections in other school libraries in Palestine.
“This collection of books will provide another tool for teaching empathy and understanding to people with disabilities and special needs,” Mondich said. “It can also affect those who are different not to feel so different.”
She credits Titlow with connecting students to new books.
“Ms. Titlow promotes the collection and continues to interest students in new books,” she said.
Palestinian schools are commemorating World Down Syndrome Awareness Day on Monday, March 21, with a “Rock Your Socks” campaign that encourages the wearing of brightly colored socks.
For more information, visit Palestine ISD on Facebook.