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956Guidelines for "Weird Animals" VBS Program

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  • Susan Leiby
    Jun 11, 2014
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      One of the popular Vacation Bible School Programs this year, “Weird Animals”, contains a video about autism to be shown to children.  We have heard some concerns about the content of this video.  You can view the video at http://vimeo.com/77436449.

       

      To help ensure that accurate information about autism is presented to children attending this program, we are sending out the guidelines below to churches in South Carolina using the “Weird Animals” program. 

       

      If you know of a church using “Weird Animals”, please forward this email to them.  Thank you!

       

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      South Carolina Autism Society Guidelines for
      “Weird Animals” Vacation Bible School Program

       

      The South Carolina Autism Society would like to provide some additional information to churches using the “Weird Animals” Vacation Bible School (VBS) program.  We appreciate that this program is teaching children about autism spectrum disorders, and working to foster an inclusive church environment.  We agree that God made people with autism unique, special, and AMAZING!  And we agree that everyone, including those with autism or other disabilities are masterpieces created by God.

       

      However, we also are concerned about some of the misinformation in the video, and are issuing these guidelines so that VBS students are provided an accurate portrayal of autism.

       

      The South Carolina Autism Society encourages all churches using the “Weird Animals” VBS program to share the following information with attendees as part of their video lesson on Autism.

       

      ·         The video tells the story of ONE person with autism.  Just like every child is different and has unique characteristics, it is the same with children with autism.

      ·         Autism is not a disease.  It is a condition where the persons’ brain works differently.  A person with autism did nothing wrong that made them get autism, and it is not contagious.

      ·         There are some ways that people with autism may seem different, but there are many ways that they are just like you.  They may like playing video games or sports.  They may like Legos, cars, or trains.  They may like reading books, playing a musical instrument, or painting. They may be in your Sunday School class, in your class at school, on your sports team, or in your neighborhood.  There are all kinds of things that people with autism enjoy, and that they are good at.

      ·         People with autism want to be your friend.  Sometimes they just don’t know the right things to say.  You can help by asking them to play with you, join in your game, or to just hang out.

      ·         Treat people with autism just like you would anyone else.  Talk to them.  Always be kind and patient, and include them in your activities. 

      ·         Calling names, being unkind, and bullying is never okay.  If there is something you do not understand, ask an adult.

       

      We recommend the book, “My Friend With Autism” by Beverly Bishop as a resource for helping children understand both the strengths and challenges of their peers with autism.  This book is available at most online retailers. 

       

      The South Carolina Autism Society has resources available to assist places of worship in becoming more inclusive of people with disabilities.  Please visit www.AllAreWelcome.info to learn more about this important topic.  You may also visit our website at www.SCAutism.org to learn more about autism and resources in South Carolina.

       

      Should you have any additional questions, please contact Susan Leiby, All Are Welcome Project Coordinator, at SusanL@....

       

      Susan Leiby

      South Carolina Autism Society

      Communications & Events

       

      Upstate Office

      5 Century Drive, Suite 132

      Greenville, SC  29607

      Cell:  (864) 517-0501  

      Visit us online at http://www.scautism.org

       

      Join us at Strides for Autism!

      Midlands -- Saturday, May 3, 2014, Finlay Park, Columbia

      Visit https://scautism.org/strides/ for more information and registration!