Monday, September 24, 2012

I Know a Chicken

You have to be of a certain age to remember comedian Jimmy Durante. He would grab his hat, look straight into the camera and utter his famous catch phrase: "Everybody wants ta get inta the act!"

How about you?
Want "ta get inta the act" at the Frankie Lemmon school?
Can't sing? Can't dance? Can't do much at all?
Exactly what we need at the Frankie Lemmon school!

Can you play? Can you smile? Can you read aloud?
Exactly what we need at the Frankie Lemmon School!

Just think! If you want "ta get inta the act" at the Frankie Lemmon School, you can:
           peek under parachutes,                                    — or get fingerprinted,

— or even sing about a chicken!

It's not that hard!
It's even fun!
So be a volunteer!
Get inta the act!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I play, therefore I am - thoughts on the first days of school

And Miss Paula is back!
— accompanied at the keyboard by my new friends.

Each friend has a name—names like Grace or Nadia, Milana or Matthew, Aidan or Landon, Audwin or Dustin.

Special needs children who have autism or Down Syndrome or any number of other disabilities do not have them by choice. The desire to get inside the mind of such a child is the wish of many who deal with such children. We think that if we could just see the world the way they do, hear what they hear, experience life from their perspective, then we could understand and help them.

That's why Mr. Pat is back. That's why Mr. Pat keeps coming back; Mr. Pat wants to learn. And today my four year old friends taught me something really great—they call it "play". Today they taught me that:
• I need to make messes. Not one, but many. I need to get stuff out and leave it out and then go do something else—at least until teacher tells me to go back and clean it up!
• I need to experiment with things–things like plastic pizza and little purple bowls, and all kinds of objects, whatever I find.
• it's possible to juggle two balls and throw a scarf over your head at the same time.
• it's possible to read two books only halfway to three friends at once.
• I can sing by myself or with others but I don't have to finish the song.
• I don't HAVE to judge others.
• I can play with stuff BEFORE my “work” is done.

• it's fun to climb around inside of a cardboard box—especially a "sensory" box. Miss White made a really nice one. It helps relieve the stress if you have autism. It's open on both ends. You feel safe inside. You can take your dinosaur inside and climb around and roar and look out through the little windows. They're different shapes and sizes. You can also strum on strings that Miss White put on the walls and poke different shaped cardboard pieces out the windows. And you can give it a hug when you're done!
Lastly, my friends taught me that I need to have absolutely no intention of finishing anything.
My friends are GENIUSES!