Kid-Created Autism Awareness Talk Show
A group of children at P53K@437 in Kensington, Brooklyn have created their very own talk show, which is hosted by students and faculty members at P53K. The talk show aims to celebrate the differences and to show off the talents of students with disabilities and special needs. The show’s executive producer and speech therapist at P53K, Crista Conto, in collaboration with co-producers Tanisha Graham and Sharon Hunter, stated that the show was the result of the children’s hard work in SEM (Student Enrichment Model).
The annual student-drive program allows children to think outside of their established curriculum and to come up with a creative and fun group project on their own. Just last year, a group of children at P53K worked together to put on their very own fashion show called the “Autism Awareness SHARE LOVE Fashion Show.”
The inspirational world of fashion and autism
According to Conto, her group of students, all of whom have some sort of developmental delay or are autistic, chose fashion and autism awareness as the focus of their project after attending a school-wide SEM fair. The tiny fashionistas watched a video on autism and engaged in team discussion before coming up with a pair of slogans – “Autism is a part of me but it doesn’t define me” and “Everybody is different and that’s okay.” They even learned about the art of fashion throughout the years. “They compared clothes from then to the clothes right on their backs. Throughout the weeks leading up to the fashion show, the students explored a variety of textures and materials. They created masks, capes, aprons, soccer jerseys, their very own unique t-shirts, a tutu and fabulous jewelry to finish off their look,” said Conto. They then practiced their walks on the runway, which went on display to a wide audience filled with fellow students, faculty members, and parents.
“It turned out amazing. Not only was it so cute but it was honestly amazing to see how dedicated these kids were to this and how into it each and every one of them was,” said Conto. She stated that the fashion show was the perfect opportunity for the children to show that they could do anything they set their minds to and sometimes, they may need to do it a little differently. “We had kids from other groups there supporting ours, high-fiving them, dancing with them. We even had a group of kids doing mock interviews with our group on the red carpet. It was awesome,” she said. The entire fashion show was such a success that Conto stated they plan to do it again and get more children involved.
All of the proceeds from the sales at the fashion show went to Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization in the United States.
Read on to learn more about this talk show and how it empowers students.
Photo: Brooklyn Reporter