In a world that is becoming increasingly disconnected, environmental education has the ability to reach diverse audiences and create an environmentally literate community capable of making decisions that support sustainable practices. Diversity implies inclusion of all individuals, including those with autism. Autism is one of the most prevalent developmental learning disabilities in the United States and those with the neurobiological disorder experience challenges in areas such as social reasoning, language, cognition, sensory sensitivities and emotional regulation. Environmental education often occurs in informal learning environments, including day camp programs. While day camps provide the ideal setting for addressing deficits in peer interactions, social communication, development of interactive play skills and engagement in group activities, the majority of camps do not provide inclusive services. The goal of this capstone project is to help camp programs create an inclusive camp culture through effective staff training. Using the guidebook component of the project, leadership can create an action plan for the development, implementation and improvement of an inclusive program. Leadership will then be prepared to facilitate an effective training presentation tailored to their specific program. The main goals of the presentation are for participants to gain a shared philosophy of inclusion in the camp environment, understand how they all contribute to camp culture, feel empowered and capable of supporting inclusion and be able to put into practice what they have learned. Hopefully this capstone project inspires community members to be a part of the movement towards inclusion and help environmental educators diversify their audience, leading to more environmentally literate individuals.
Adult Education, Community Building, Environmental Studies, Special Education, Staff Development, Teachers/ Teaching
Leslie, Emma, "How Environmental Education Based Camps Can Create An Inclusive Opportunity To Ensure Children With Autism Have A Positive And Meaningful Experience" (2018). School of Education and Leadership Student Capstone Projects. 246.
School of Education Student Capstone Projects