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  • Laura Rudderham

Celebrating World Autism Month

Maynooth University Biology Department and Local Teacher Partner for Successful Classroom Science Week Event - an Undeniable Approach for Fostering the Strengths in Primary Students with Autism.

It's World Autism Month! Here's how our colleagues in the Department of Biology at Maynooth University are celebrating autism year round. In collaboration with Scoil Bhríde, National School in Clara, Co. Offaly a group of brilliant students in the autism learning setting participated in a thrilling Science Week 2022 event.

Sisters, Patricia McDonnell, Senior Demonstrator and Lab Technician for the Department of Biology at Maynooth University, and Joanne Fox, a primary school teacher at Scoil Bhríde, teamed up to facilitate science demonstrations for Sunrise students - a class appropriately named for their autistic strengths and talents that no-doubt soar well beyond the horizon.

From learning about genes by isolating DNA from a banana, to exploring mixing and dissolving solutions to create miniature lava lamps - students were able to access the primary school science curriculum in fun and engaging ways.

Students were also given the opportunity to fill the role as teacher by demonstrating an at-home volcanic eruption at the front of the classroom for their peers. An excellent learning experience that encourages confidence in communication and socialization skills.

“This made all the more exciting as they were able to wear lab coats and goggles and handle scientific equipment, allowing them to take on the role of scientist.” – Joanne Fox,

To read the full story follow the link below.

A group of Sunrise students from Sciol Bhríde, Clara, Co. Offaly with Maynooth University Senior Demonstrator, Patricia McDonnell, centre. Students proudly showcase their test tube lava lamps and examine a collection of animal skulls at a Science Week 2022 demonstration.

Everyone present had a blast and plans are underway to collaborate again in the future. If you know of a school or organization that would be interested in hosting a similar educational experience you can contact the Family Genomics Research group at


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