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To help celebrate National Garden Month 2006, we've invited our visitors to share their garden tales with us. We hope you'll find inspiration in their stories and appreciate the pride of your fellow gardeners.
In 2003 I started teaching at Edgewood Community Developmental School in Goldsboro, NC. This is a public separate school that serves the students with mild to severe/profound mental disabilities.
I had a student in my class who is diagnosed with autism. His name was Chad. The first time I met Chad, I instantly fell in love with him. He had beautiful brown hair and big brown expressive eyes. He was a child who loved sensory items. He loved to play in water (fountains, sinks, puddles, toilets etc.) He loved to run when it was windy to feel the wind against his face. He loved to play with strings. He loved to swing and rock. He could be seen in class stealing the foster grandmothers rocker when she wasn't looking.
Chad became sick in 2004 and in May 2004, he passed away. I know it was a devastating time for his parents, but it was for his teacher as well. His parents and I became closer due to the circumstances.
In the fall of 2004, I was looking in different magazines and saw an idea for a sensory garden. I thought what a wonderful way of remembering Chad and other students with sensory needs. I decided that I would make a sensory garden at the school in Chad's memory and for the other students in the school to benefit from the garden.
The garden began with a hammock swing for vestibular sensation, wind spinners for visual senses, wind chimes for auditory senses, a solar fountain for auditory and tactile sensation and several different types of plants for the students to not only take care of, but to touch, feel, smell and even taste. We even have different bird feeders for the students to enjoy watching the birds that come to the feeders and study about them.
That spring, one of the pre school students in our school came out into the sensory garden and stated, "Wow I can feel spring!! She was touching lambs ear plant and smelling the daffodils, tulips and crocus. This child is visually impaired, so her other senses were enjoying the sensory garden.
My classroom faces out into the sensory garden and we have a stepping stone in the garden with Chad's picture on it so he can still be a part of the sensory garden. I know he is looking down from heaven and saying.. Way to go Ms. Donna.