It’s good to be around those who are curious and understand. That, more than nearly anything else, is the appeal of Full Spectrum Science at Sci-Quest on Wednesday afternoons from 3:30 – 4:30pm.
Well, that’s the appeal for parents anyway. The appeal for kids is obvious: when soda erupts, it grabs everyone’s attention.
In conjunction with The Autism Resource Foundation (a group of moms, dads, and those who love those on the spectrum), Sci-Quest has developed a science education program for all children on the autism spectrum. Making use of visual schedules, quiet rooms, small groups and hands on activities and games, this program is suitable for kids across the spectrum.
While not every child will enjoy every topic equally (when you’ve met one child on the spectrum, you’ve met one child on the spectrum) there is a wide variety of topics to choose from over the next four months including Food Science, Engineering, Earth and Space Science, and Zoology.
The program my kids and I (siblings are always welcome) participated in was “Soda Pop Science.” While Matthew doesn’t have a natural interest in carbonated drinks, he scrunches up his face whenever he accidently takes a sip of one, he loves pouring, mixing, and spilling water to watch the patterns on the table.
All scientific exploration is welcomed and encouraged.
And that’s the true beauty of this program. Exploration and playing together are the primary goals.
But the true excitement came when we learned what happens when one introduces “Special Tablets” into both regular and diet soda.
Diet is cooler.
Full Spectrum Science Details
So what do you need to know to attend?
Dates/Times: Most Wednesdays, 3:30-4:30pm, from February until May. The program will begin about 3:40pm to allow the kids the opportunity to acclimate to the new surroundings. You may also arrive earlier or stay after to play with the regular exhibits.
Location: Sci-Quest, 1435 Paramount Drive, Huntsville, AL. 35806 (Hwy 72)
Cost: $5.00 for Sci-Quest members/$11.00 for non-members per class. Parents may attend for free with the kids.
Registration: You will need to register for each class you wish to attend individually. You may select and register here. [https://sci-quest.org/plan-your-visit/full-spectrum-science]
Autism Specific Concerns
- The program is designed for kids across the spectrum, but if your child needs hand-over-hand direction or help focusing, it would be a good idea for a parent or responsible sibling to attend the class with your child.
- I would highly recommend taking advantage of the early arrival policy. Having the opportunity to explore before the class made the class much more enjoyable.
- There are a ton of colored blocks, balls, and Legos if having a spectrum of small objects is soothing to your child. You may, of course, bring your own. (Matthew calls dibs on Mr. Potato Head.)
- There is a snack bar if an after school snack is in order.
- Sci-Quest has handicapped accessible bathrooms without automatic flushing toilets (which is a big deal in our family), and paper towels (so you can avoid the loud hand driers!)
Having a program that encourages curiosity and exploration in a safe and accepting environment is the beauty of Full Spectrum Science. And that’s the most important part of scientific exploration: all that is required is curiosity.
As a parent of a child on the spectrum, I’m extremely grateful to Sci-Quest and The Autism Resource Foundation for their dedication in encouraging all children to explore their world.
Dad, hubby and irritator of students and school boards alike, Russell Winn is committed to ensuring that the Huntsville City Schools provide access to the educational support system for every student. When he's not enforcing grammar rules or arguing the ethical minutia of Kant's deontology, he spends his time loving his kids, reading anything by Stephen King or Christopher Moore, and attempting to speak truth to power on behalf of special needs kids. You may follow his rants at www.geekpalaver.com or on twitter at @russwinn.