One Class at a Time: Illini Bluffs - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

One Class at a Time: Illini Bluffs

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GLASFORD, Ill. – School is back in session and so is One Class at a Time.

This week, there were two winners.

Each of them shares the responsibility of teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

These Illini Bluffs pre-schoolers take routine sensory breaks every 30 minutes.

“Just seeing these kids struggle with some of their outside needs that you wouldn't think would be bothering them—you don't see it, but they express it in different ways than what other kids usually do. Their bodies don't know how to process the everyday information, so providing sensory activities such as the trampoline, therapy balls for kids to roll on, deep pressure activities, they help their bodies and help regulate them," said Brooke Pfanz, an occupational therapy assistant.

"That helps with their learning strategies. We want to be able to have more sensory breaks with them. We're kind of limited right now in the amount of sensory equipment that we have," said Illini Bluffs teacher Jennifer Anton.

As a small rural school district, getting enough money to buy such equipment can be a challenge.

Now, Anton is getting some help.

Anton and Pfanz’s classroom aide nominated them for the One Class at a Time award.

"Kids—they come in here every day, and after being in their classroom or working all day they get fidgety, very tired, and they need something to re-energize them to focus again," said Trisha Robertson, the classroom aide.

The One Class at a Time provides the teachers with a $1,000 grant.

Now, with more money available, Anton says she will buy more trampolines and bouncy chairs.

They are grateful for the gift.

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