Camelot Special Ed Teacher marks Autism Awareness Month with a Special Scarf
Lauren Kruse had already been making scarves but this one is for a special cause
(DeKalb, Illinois – April 11, 2013)
Lauren Kruse (pronounced KROO-zee) wanted to make a statement when she designed her special edition hand-made Autism Awareness Month scarf: We are all equal, disability or otherwise, and every child deserves the opportunity to learn.
Lauren, a special education teacher at Camelot of DeKalb, says she enjoys helping others and giving students with autism the chance they might not be able to otherwise have. Her craft-making skill has given her the opportunity to spread that message. And supporters have been scarfing them up!
“When the scarfs went on the Autism Society web page I crashed the site because so many people wanted to buy them,” Lauren reports. She’s been so busy, in fact, she has stopped making all the other products she’d been working on to devote her production strictly to the autism scarfs.
The idea evolved when Niamh Dillon, the director of Autism at Camelot and vocational coordinator Dana Wyzard, had the scarfs on at The Autism Society of Illinois at a conference. The ASI asked Lauren if she could make a lot more as a fund-raising gesture and the campaign was launched.
Kruse has the process of making scarves down to a science, cutting and sewing and ironing. But she doesn’t necessarily do all that alone.
“I have a very supportive family. We live next to our in-laws and my mother-in-law helps with the ironing and my husband helps on his lunch break when he comes home for lunch. ”
Lauren lives an hour away from Camelot, in Walnut, IL and when she gets home at 4:30 she starts her scarf-making. She can’t spend too many hours at it, though, because she leaves the house at 6:15 a.m. every morning in order to be at work by 7:30.
Lauren works with students one on one, currently a 10-year-old. But since joining Camelot in 2006 she has worked with students as old as 21 in the vocation portion of the program for Camelot students ages 18-22. This program helps students go into the community and to job sites and become more independent as adults.
She enjoys watching the children grow, seeing the joy in their faces and seeing them reach big milestones in their life.
She talks about one student who was afraid to go outside but after months of work she was able to help the child overcome his fears and now enjoys walking. She began by walking him to a fire house because the student liked fire engines.
Lauren, a native of Sycamore is a graduate of Concordia University with a B.A in Social Work. Her mother was also a special education teacher.
Lauren is one of many Camelot professionals who work to cultivate the potential in every child. Camelot operates six therapeutic day schools, which work with students on the autism spectrum and those who are developmentally delayed. Camelot also runs an accelerated high school program in suburban Chicago called Excel Academy.
With each scarf purchase a donation is made to the Autism Society of Illinois. You can buy the scarf at the Autism Society website, http://www.autismillinois.org/?p=4037 or Lauren’s Kruse Kreations website, http://www.etsy.com/shop/KruseKreations22.
Read more about Camelot Schools at www.camelotforkids.org