Van Hoosen Middle School Celebrates Authors’ In April & Autism Awareness Month

The Van Hoosen Middle School Autism program and the language arts department are partnering to provide students, staff, parents, and the community with an opportunity to engage in a month of reading while learning more about Autism.

During the month of April, Van Hoosen sixth grade students and parents will be reading Anything But Typical, by Nora Raleigh Baskin, the school’s designated Author in April.

Anything But Typical is written from the perspective of Jason Blake, a 12-year old living with Autism,” said Van Hoosen Language Arts Teacher Kathy Adams. “The novel offers readers an eye-opening glimpse into what life is like for a young person who is affected by autism. The overall message focuses on acceptance and reinforces that it is okay to be different.”

While reading the novel, students and parents will be invited to participate in a blog discussion covering topics such as: Jason’s frustration when his grandmother assumes he understands nothing; his tendency to miss important social cues; and the name-calling he endures from school bullies.

To kick off the month-long event, Lisa Kowalski will provide a presentation explaining Autism Spectrum Disorder on April 1. Lisa is a former Van Hoosen parent, the author of the Disability Awareness Workshop for RCS, and a long-standing member of the Oakland Schools Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. Students will then have the opportunity to talk with two individuals about what it is like living with Autism.

In an effort to foster acceptance and build friendships, students will also have the ability to sign up to provide peer support as a homeroom buddy, lunch buddy, and/or reading buddy.

On May 6, from 5:30-7:00 p.m., during the Van Hoosen Ice Cream Social, OU CARES, Oakland University’s Autism Center, will be sponsoring a table that will provide information and literature, a question and answer discussion forum, and volunteer opportunities, the press release stated.

“We are excited about introducing students to unique authors during the month of April while raising the community’s knowledge and understanding of autism,” said Van Hoosen Principal Dan Mooney. “It’s a win-win combination.”

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at

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