NASA ASTRO CAMP® Community Partners Engage Children with Diversabilities

NASA ASTRO CAMP® Community Partners Engage Children with Diversabilities

Children on the autism spectrum experienced NASA ASTRO CAMP® Community Partners (ACCP) activities tailored to their unique needs as the ACCP team supported the Winter Sensory Celebration in collaboration with the Junior Auxiliary of Hancock County. About 50 families participated in the fourth autistic spectrum social event that took place at the Fenton Community Center in Kiln, MS on December 10th, 2022.

With children on the autism spectrum, each child's diversabilities are as unique as that child. Most events do not tailor to meet these diversabilities. However, deliberate planning for a broad range of attendee responses provided a safe and positive learning experience. ACCP carefully selected the activities it used to meet the needs of autistic children. "The Winter Sensory Celebration is about meeting kids where they're at," said Morgan Necaise, NASA ACCP education specialist. "Our polymer science activity allowed the children to feel science at the tips of their fingers, and we could talk with them about what they were feeling."

Planning occurred with guidance and activities from the ACCP cross-collaborating partner NASA's Neurodiversity Network. For example, verbal and non-verbal communication picturegraphs were featured on each table alongside the sensory-specific activities. Collaborations of this type help tailor ACCP activities to reach those in traditionally underserved and under-represented communities.

ACCP is goal-focused to make NASA’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities accessible for all communities.

NASA's ASTRO CAMP® Community Partners program is supported by NASA and is part of NASA’s Science Activation Portfolio. The ACCP team collaborates with community programs to bring NASA Science Activation activities to communities in fun and engaging ways, inspiring youth (with a focus on reaching underserved and under-represented groups) by sharing NASA Science. Learn more about how Science Activation connects NASA science experts, real content, and experiences with community leaders to do science in ways that activate minds and promote deeper understanding of our world and beyond:

NASA ACCP team members (Morgan Necaise (l) and Kallie Crowell (r) teach children with autistic diversabilities about polymer science and robotics at the Winter Sensory Celebration hosted by Hancock County Junior Auxiliary on December 10th, 2022.

NASA ACCP adapts STEM activities to include diversabilities among children.