by Kimberly Willis Green
The South Atlanta High School Hornets hosted “Autism Awareness Night” during their home game against the D.M. Therrell High School Panthers at Lakewood Stadium Sept. 17.
South Atlanta High School Head Football Coach Kevin Hill and Mike Perrelli, former head football coach of Therrell High School and current teacher at South Atlanta High School, who both have children with autism, welcomed students, families and the community to the game. Therrell High School senior Torre Sumlin, who has autism, served as the team captain for last night’s game as the Panthers beat the South Atlanta Hornets 30-27 in overtime.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or autism, is a developmental disorder characterized in varying degrees by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. As fans entered the stadium, they received fliers from APS staff members about autism family services and resources provided by Autism Speaks. Attendees wore light blue to show their support. Autism banners hung from the front entrance of Lakewood Stadium and behind the South Atlanta Hornets’ bench.
Atlanta Public Schools’ Department of Special Education provides programming and services for students with autism that encompass social skills instruction, functional communication training, community based instruction, as well as academic and behavioral skills instruction. Programming is based on the whole child and it ensures that the student can generalize the skills taught throughout the school, home, and community.
Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving over 50,000 students across 98 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 80 schools, 18 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us.