Statesboro's Behavioral Pediatrics Resource Center was recently challenged by the Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro to develop a strategy for teaching local children about COVID-19 and other viruses as the pandemic continues and flu season arrives.
Jeremy Hart, who serves on the board of both organizations, saw opportunity for collaboration and making a positive impact on the need to keep students, teachers and their families at home remain as safe as possible.
Hart approached Resource Center Executive Director Michelle Zeanah, and Toolkits for Teachers was the result.
Resource Center staff designed and tested strategies for teaching effective handwashing, social distancing and covering one’s cough. The activities focus on visual learning instead of auditory learning and are designed to engage and excite students. Several of the lessons were demonstrated at a recent Rotary meeting.
“Even Rotarians love a glow in the dark science experiment,” Hart said.
Baskets of materials for each of Bulloch County's elementary school will be delivered to the Board of Education office on Friday.
Each basket contains glow in the dark flashlights and "germs,” confetti to demonstrate effective cough covering, visual aids for teaching distance, materials to demonstrate how soap disperses germs and printed materials for each teacher.
Teachers' materials include tips and explanations to assist in teaching children with autism spectrum disorder or other learning differences.
“Many children with autism struggle with respecting personal space,” Zeanah said. “This increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory viruses. Verbal instructions alone are not effective for teaching most children on the autism spectrum. Literally showing children how germs are spread can change a child’s behavior.”
The Statesboro Resource Center provides support for families impacted by autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, anxiety and related disorders through parent training, support groups, community education and educator training.
“We saw this as a great opportunity to use our expertise to help local teachers and do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Zeanah said. “Behavioral Pediatrics Resource Center is delighted to partner with Downtown Rotary and Bulloch County schools to support teachers and students.”
Other Resource Center activities include a support group for parents and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum that meets Mondays at 12:30 p.m. on Zoom. The link can be found on the organization's Facebook page.