Diversity Experience Reflection Essay

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Diversity Experience Reflection

My choice for a diversity experience was to volunteer with Autistic children and teens. Autism is a condition that sees a great deal more attention in the press in the 21st century, yet I do not have a direct experience with Autism when it affects so many. I decided instead of reading about or watching a program about Autism that I would learn about Autism experientially. I performed some basic Internet research to find volunteer opportunities in my area. I contacted a few places via email and phone, and secured a session at a Special Education school in Lower Manhattan. The center welcomed my intent to volunteer and said they would make sure I would interact with as many age groups as possible. I volunteered at Hawthorne Country Day School on William Street. It is a center that practices Applied Behavioral Analysis with the students. They service young children into early teens. During my time at HCDS, I visited three classrooms.

One of the first things I noticed about HCDS is how colorful and vibrant it is. Every classroom is decorated with themes. The classrooms are equipped with computers and multimedia equipment, plenty of books and other literary resources. HCDS is very well staffed. There is one primary teacher and two or more assistant teachers in each classroom. The class sizes vary, but none are overly big. The classes with larger populations are proportionately staffed. There was a generally friendly and productive atmosphere. The staff is very well trained and many of them enjoy what they do very much. The management encourages and supports staff members improving themselves inside and outside of work.

The class settings are very inviting. There are many places to sit and many different types of things upon which to sit such as various kinds of chairs, stools, pillows, beanbags, and others. The children really feel connected and responsible to their classroom spaces. The teachers encourage the students to participate in group activities as well as demonstrate academic and social independence. The students are very energetic and they are very connected to the staff in their classroom or other staff they work with such as previous teachers, other volunteers, and specialists that provide related services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, and others.

Since I did not know any of the children, I would be with kids that did not have a staff with them or if a teacher gave me a specific direction to work with a child I would. I got to work with several kids. The kinds of activities I did with them varied. There was an instance when I helped a boy about eight years old pronounce his vocabulary…

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