Students in the autism classroom at Sherwood Elementary have the use of special tools thanks to Ashleigh Trato, a Saginaw ISD Occupational Therapist with Saginaw Township Community Schools.
The magnet for pulling all of these tools together are colorful sensory bags Ashleigh has put together for her students so they can be more successful in both school and home environments.
"Every student has a bag that is fit just for them, they have the tools they need right within their reach inside the sensory bag," said Ashleigh. “Every bag contains the sensory toys – the unique tools – that students use at times to help them cope.”
No sensory bag is alike.
Students get small pillows, which are useful to use during fire, tornado and lock down drills.
Other items in the bags include pop-its, Rubik cubes, balls – with some that light up and other small ones to squeeze. Sometimes there are lava lamps, fidget bracelets, and other fun manipulatives.
Included are also visual tools based on pictures, and these are typically called core boards. Ashleigh plans to post a video on Instagram about these so she can show families how to follow along, too.
Ashleigh goes "above and beyond" her job responsibilities, said Chelsea Korzecki, Special Education Supervisor at the Saginaw ISD, noting Ashleigh’s commitment to making sensory bags is something extra she does on her own.