Maddi has been using my book Ball! Ball! Ball! for topic this term in her class. As many of her students are autistic and have sensory processing issues, Ball! Ball! Ball! offered various possibilities for tie-in activities and sensory fun. Her students are between the ages of 5 and 9.
Ball! Ball! Ball! is about an autistic boy named Tom who is obsessed with all things round and enthusiastically points out any object he can find that looks like a ball. From peas to balloons, Tom learns that “balls” can be smooth, squishy, pop, and even have different temperatures.
Maddi read my story to her class and then made various tie-in activities based on sensory play. She collected variations on all of the objects in the book, such as a rock, a round lamp, bubbles, etc. and placed them in a basket to be used as needed.
Just as Tom is excited about the peas on his plate, Maddi made a table full of peas and let the children play and squish them as they wished. For science and physical education, they rolled and threw different balls. She even filled a trampoline with balloons and let the children jump in them. I think she is doing a wonderful job and it is clear that the children all really enjoy being in her class. I'm thrilled that my book is being used in such a positive way.
On the day I visited, we decided to do a sensory bag activity. I placed a round object, such as a ball, round Lego tire, marble, roll of tape, etc. into a bag and let each of the children feel the object with their hands. Many of the children wanted to see the object and take it out of the bag.
After this, I read Ball! Ball! Ball! to the class again. One of the pupils who had been stimming with his hand in front of his face the entire time, stopped stimming for a little while. This made me happy, as this was the child that Maddi had told me loved balls more than anything. Another child sat very close to me and wanted to touch the page that I was reading. Although I received very little eye contact, I could tell that most of the students were listening and taking part in their own way. Having written a story about an autistic child, it was wonderful getting positive feedback from children who could directly relate to Tom's character.
Finally, we made a fabric collage together of a scene from outer space using a simplified version of the collage technique that I used for Ball! Ball! Ball! I brought pieces of scrap material and stencils and we glued the material onto a piece of poster board. The children needed some help with using scissors, but they all worked really hard and together we finished a nice piece of artwork.
I really enjoyed visiting Maddi’s class and the staff at Bangabandhu Primary School were all very friendly and helpful. I love being an advocate for children with special needs and autism and I look forward to visiting more schools in the future. I am also planning on adding a lot of Maddi’s sensory activities to my webpage along with some ideas for sensory play so that other teachers can benefit from her creativity and dedication.
Ball! Ball! Ball! is in the process of being published and will be available on Amazon in June of this year. The ISBN number is 978-1-73-395951-3. Please contact me if you would like to pre-order a copy and if you enjoy my books, please leave me a positive review on Amazon. Thank you.