By Cherri Gregg
CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — It’s World Autism Awareness Day, and about 400 elementary school kids in South Jersey gathered outside today to show their support by blowing bubbles.
With cheers and giggles following the command, “3, 2, 1…blow!” thousands of bubbles filled the air outside Kingston Elementary School in Cherry Hill, NJ (top photo).
“These are the kids that they play with, these are the kids that they share classes with. We honor diversity at all levels,” says school principal Stan Sheckman, explaining the school’s desire to get the students involved.
He says the school has two fulltime autism support classes and has worked to create sensitivity and understanding, which helps because most of the students are mainstreamed.
Meggie Kobb, whose son Ian is in second grade at the school, says there needs to be more conversations about autism.
“I would so much rather have someone at the library or at the Wegman’s approach me and say, ‘What exactly is your son doing when he’s rocking back and forth?’ versus making assumptions,” she tells KYW Newsradio. “Disability is only one piece of who these kids are. They are funny, they are artistic, they are sensational. And autism is only one piece of that. So get to know the whole child!”
Ten-year-old Logan Phillips says he has fellow students in his class who have been diagnosed along the autism spectrum.
“I try to be friends with them,” he says. “I think it’s really important because I think it helps that student.”
According to the CDC, one out of every 88 children is diagnosed with some form of autism.