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Sci-Quest unveils respected program for children with autism

"Full Spectrum Science," a program designed for children on the autism spectrum, meets on Wednesdays during February at Sci-Quest Hand-On Science Center. (CONTRIBUTED)
“Full Spectrum Science,” a program designed for children on the autism spectrum, meets on Wednesdays during February at Sci-Quest Hand-On Science Center. (CONTRIBUTED)

HUNTSVILLE – Sci-Quest Hands-On Science Center has partnered with The Autism Resource Foundation to introduce “Full Spectrum Science,” a new program designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum.

Full Spectrum Science meets on Wednesdays during February from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. The sessions offer quality, hands-on science and technology curriculum, experiments and even games for children with autism.

Sci-Quest educators received special training from the foundation last summer and completed a pilot program of Full Spectrum Science for needed adjustments, Sci-Quest Development/Marketing Director Jennifer Deermer said.

“The Autism Resource Foundation is truly grateful to Sci-Quest for partnering with us to provide an opportunity for all individuals on the autism spectrum to attend science classes,” foundation board member Norma Pedersen said.

Richard Reynolds, executive director and principal of Huntsville Achievement School, is pleased that “two non-profits are coming together and collaborating to create an opportunity for success for these students.”

The foundation has a solid reputation in “providing resources that will help people on the spectrum. The Autism Resource Foundation does good work and has been helping families with autism in the area for many years,” Reynolds said.

The Huntsville Metro area has one of the highest ratios of autism in the nation, he said.

Reynolds is pleased that Sci-quest is using “best practices” with Full Spectrum Science. Historically, classes have met needs of high-functioning children but did not accommodate other children who needed help from an aid.

“The instructors understand the situation, and the class will be built around the students’ capabilities,” Reynolds said. For example, some children on the autism spectrum have sensitivity issues. Sci-Quest instructors can reduce light and noise levels for these children, who are hugely affected by environmental constraints.

Sci-Quest is blending the “best minds who know both know autism and science. You combine those and the kids can gain an understanding of science and get excited,” Reynolds said.

Registration is open. Cost is $5 for members or $11 for other families.

For more information, visit theautismresourcefoundation.org or sci-quest.org or call 256-837-0606.

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