The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

UA SNRE and LTRR host a day of environmental science discovery for ASD students from Tucson area schools

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On Saturday February 7, 2015, a group of educators representing the University Of Arizona Laboratory Of Tree-Ring Research, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, and the Department of Medical Imaging hosted an environmental science camp for students with Autism. Dr. Kit O’Connor of SNRE and the LTRR led students through a day of hands-on learning with tree rings, geography, and environmental problem solving. Student scientists were assisted by a group of outreach educators led by the LTRR outreach coordinator Pamela Pelletier and volunteer coordinator Arin Haverland, as well as graduate students from the SLHS program.  The curriculum titled: “If Trees Could Talk: A day of exploration of the past and present from the perspective of tree-rings”, was targeted toward students on the autism spectrum as a way to demonstrate how their unique skill sets can propel them to success in the sciences at the college level. In addition to the student program, a program for parents of students with ASD was run by Jennifer Casteix of the UA Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and Dr. Terry Matsunaga of the Department of Medical Imaging, to inform parents about the resources available for students with disabilities at the University of Arizona and through other state programs. The event was sponsored by the Autism Society and was a pilot project for a more comprehensive summer program designed to introduce students with ASD to college level coursework and campus survival skills.