Book donations, disabilty and health programs bring attention to special needs at Haisley

From AAPSNews Service

It was a week of focus on special needs and bringing attention to the topic for Haisley Elementary students.

University of Michigan Medical School students representing The Hippo Literary Magazine chose Haisley Elementary School’s self-contained special education rooms for a recent donation of new books.

Anna Owczarczyk, a second-year med school student, represented the group by dropping off the new books to Haisley, to “oohs and aahs” of staff and students.

Haisley book donation
Anna Owczarczyk, a U-M Medical School student, brings a donation of books for Haisley Elementary School's self-contained special ed classrooms on behalf of her student group. Accepting on behalf of Haisley are teachers Jenifer Elliot, Kristi McKenna and Lisa Wells; Principal Mary Anne Jaeger; and two students including one from a special education classroom and another general education fifth-grader who is a mentor.

Accepting the books on behalf of Haisley were teachers Jenifer Elliot, Kristi McKenna and Lisa Wells, Principal Mary Anne Jaeger, and two students including one from a special education classroom and another general education fifth-grader who is a mentor.

Jaeger explained that Haisley is a community that embraces the diversity in its student population. The school’s buddies mentor program, for example, encourages general education students to work directly with their schoolmates in the self-contained special education rooms.

Owczarczyk said the group was pleased to work with Haisley, as the medical students were specifically focused on helping students with special needs for their project. The group’s mission is to serve as a creative outlet for U-M medical students but also to engage the students in service-related activities specifically advocating for childhood literacy. To accomplish their goal for Haisley, they sold candygrams around Valentine’s Day, raising about $200 toward the cause.

“One of the goals we set when we started (The Hippo Literary Magazine) last year was to do more than posting (articles) online,” said Owczarczyk.

Jaeger said she was pleasantly surprised to hear from the group and was eager to accept the donation to her school.

The book donation kicked off a variety of activities at Haisley for the week, which also included a visit from Pioneer Health Sciences students teaching fourth- and first-graders at an in-school health fair where they shared information about how to read vital signs, how to best wash and sanitize their hands, work with a mannequin and an AED defibrillator and man an anti-smoking booth with diseased and healthy pig lungs to show students what smoking can do to their bodies.

Haisley health sciences fair
Haisley Elementary students get a chance to find out about lung health by viewing – and touching – healthy and diseased pig lungs, as shown by Pioneer High School health sciences students.

Jaeger said Haisley also works with Health Sciences students from Huron High School, who spend time regularly in the self-contained classrooms for  AHI and OHI students. Ann Arbor Health Sciences students spend one semester of classroom learning at their respective high schools, then are placed in six rotating clinical internships throughout the community.

Jaeger said the Health Sciences health fair and U-M Medical School book presentation was a nice tie-in to the Disability Awareness Workshop that was hosted later the same week and is done at elementaries around the district each spring.

“We start by bringing students some understanding of anatomy,” she said of the Health Sciences event. “Then, when they go to the DAW, they have an understanding of what some people face.”

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