Help a Kentucky Teacher Transform Her Classroom for Kids With Autism

Support amazing teachers through TakePart’s Great Back-to-School Challenge this September!

Staci Hughes wants to ensure that her students feel safe and comfortable while learning. (Photo c/o Staci Hughes)

Sep 3, 2012
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

[Update] Thank you so much to everyone who donated! The Kentucky school project has just been funded, but there is another classroom that urgently needs your help in a poverty-stricken area of Tennessee.

Mrs. Whorley teaches elementary school kids who have parents deployed overseas and she is in dire need of math and reading activity books for her students. Mrs. Whorley's hope is to give these military kids "an opportunity to enjoy their learning experience instead of being forced to sit in a classroom that provides minimal interaction and causes their mind to wonder on the absence of their deployed parent." Support these kids here:

Each year, kindergarten teacher Staci Hughes has students in her class who are on the autism spectrum. These students face challenges throughout the day, and Mrs. Hughes is hoping to create an environment where they feel "comfortable, relaxed, safe, and ready to learn."

"With metal chair legs constantly scraping the hard, concrete tile floors and fluorescent lights flickering overhead," she says, "I suspect that students with ASD and ADD have to work extra hard to maintain focus and to enjoy their day."

Through DonorsChoose, you can help Mrs. Hughes transform her kindergarten classroom with new sensory tools.


In an interview with TakePart, Mrs. Hughes explained how the sensory tools will help her students. "The ball and squiggle seat," she says, "will help my students who find sitting still at carpet time to be nearly impossible. The tennis balls for our chairs will greatly help keep our classroom noise down to a level that everyone in the classroom can tolerate. The light covers will give the students a nice, soft lighting that won't be so harsh on the eyes and ears."

Mrs. Hughes want all of her students to feel comfortable and relaxed in their kindergarten classroom. This is especially needed at the start of the school year. Mrs. Hughes says her five- and six-year-old students come into the school "quite unsure of themselves and their surroundings." One of her favorite parts about teaching is by the end of the year, they leave her as confident school children "ready to dive into anything their future teachers throw at them, with eagerness and enthusiasm to boot!"

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