In celebration of Autism Awareness Day, OAR unveiled the long-anticipated Autism Tuned In website, which teaches elementary and middle school students in the mainstream classroom about autism. Children who are unfamiliar with autism spectrum disorder are likely to misattribute undesirable social conduct, such as poor eye contact or stimming, to individual choice. In order to address misunderstandings and high bullying rates, Autism Tuned In teaches students not only about autism, but also the value of embracing one another’s differences. Ultimately, OAR’s goal is to foster acceptance and understanding among today’s youth in a positive and engaging way.
Since 2012, the popular Kit for Kids peer education program has helped to transform the way that more than 80,000 students think about autism. Autism Tuned In expands the Kit’s offerings. It can be used in conjunction with the “What’s Up with Nick?” story or as a stand-alone resource, offering active and independent learning about autism in the classroom and beyond.
The student portal of the website includes eight modules, each featuring a short animated video clip that tells the “What’s Up with Nick?” story followed by a student activity that reinforces knowledge learned about autism. Teachers can track student progress in their own accounts and distribute free student rewards.
Throughout the month of April, OAR’s network of education professionals and social media followers supported the implementation of this new resource. Most notably, OAR partnered with Autism Society of Wisconsin, which included the program as part of its April Change for Autism campaign. OAR seeks to partner with other nonprofit organizations, school districts, and special education coordinators interested in using Autism Tuned In throughout the academic year.
Autism Tuned In was made possible thanks to the generous support of the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. To preview the website, go to www.autismtunedin.org and enter johndoe/ TestAccount1 for student access and /TestAccount1 for teacher access. Registration and unique access is free. Student rewards can also be ordered ahead of the lesson. For support on how to launch a peer education initiative at your school, please contact us at .