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Utah: 18 schools to use "alternative" lighting for SPED classrooms--keeps kids CALM

Aug 9, 2019, Deseret News (UT): 18 Utah schools letting the sunshine in with ambitious plan to improve classrooms SANDY — In the past, Donna Spivey brought lamps from home as an alternative to the overhead fluorescent lights in her special education classroom…. This summer, workers have installed new generation skylights in classrooms and hallways to bring in natural light. Spivey, who teaches students with significant disabilities, said some students on the autism spectrum are affected by bright lights and the sounds that fluorescent lights make. "This natural lighting is really going to help them if they have sensory issues. When they need to calm down I can just flip off the flourescent lights, which tend to set them off, and turn on these lights," said Spivey, who teaches first and second graders…. She's hopeful that the addition of natural light, with the ability to regulate how much floods the classroom, will be a boon to learning and help keep kids calm. Mulqueen has seen a difference in students' behavior when lights are on in a classroom and they are turned off while a teacher uses a projector. When the lights are off "it's a lot calmer. They're looking at something. There's engagement but it's a lot calmer. You flip the lights on and there's a lot more energy. I think with the natural lighting, because it's not so bright, I think we'll feel a lot calmer. I'm excited for it." … "I'm just excited to see how the kids will react," she said.


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