The Power of Words and Images

Something BIG is coming!!! At Growing Kids Therapy Center, we have been sitting on a secret….a big secret!!!

This summer, five of my incredibly smart, talented, imaginative, nonspeaking kids created a FILM!!  We will premiere the film in a MAJOR RED CARPET EVENT this Sunday, September 28!!! This is the culminating project of a film camp that we held over a total of 5 sessions throughout the summer.

Inspired by Ben’s creative writing in a lesson we did in April 2014 on The Power of Words and Images to Change the World, we created a Film Camp! Five of my nonspeaking autistic kids participated and studied film and how words, images and music can change the world. Informed and ready to transfer their knowledge, “Ausome Autistics Productions” wrote, produced and starred in a film that illustrates their journey before and after using Rapid Prompting Method (RPM). RPM is an education method that allows people who have no or very little speech to communicate via spelling on a letter board or keyboard. Ben, James, Emma, Paul and Huan used RPM to produce this film and demonstrate just how incredibly smart they are through their beautiful language skills in the absence of speech.

Here is the lesson, with Ben’s responses that started it all…..

POWER OF WORDS AND IMAGES TO CHANGE SOCIETY

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Christian preacher who loved to communicate with words.  He used the power of words to persuade church-goers to treat others with kindness, just as the Christian Bible teaches.  King also used his words to achieve equality for African-Americans.   In King’s day he and other African American’s did not have the same opportunities as white Americans.  African Americans could not attend the best public schools, get good jobs or patronize white owned businesses.

What was Rev. King’s job? HE WAS A PREACHER

How did Rev. King influence church-goers? HE INFLUENCED THEM TO BE KIND WITH HIS WORDS AND HIS EXAMPLES.

Reverend King knew inequality was wrong and wanted to end it.  He worked to convince American leaders use the legislative process to remedy inequality.  The legislative process includes a governing body which shepherds an idea from introductory bill to final law. Legislation has many purposes including regulate, authorize, grant, declare or restrict things in a society.  The March on Washington in 1963 sought to end racial segregation in schools and provide new legislation to prohibit racial discrimination in employment.  This march also sought to institute a $2.00 an hour minimum wage for all workers, and protect civil rights workers like Rev. King from police brutality.

What does inequality mean? NOT EQUAL

What is the legislative process? LEGISLATING NEW IDEAS THROUGH REPRESENTATIVES OF CONGRESS

Name one purpose for legislation, or creation of new law. REGULATING SOCIETY

Name one goal Rev. King had for the March on Washington. TO END RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

The March on Washington featured over a quarter of a million people who stood between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. At the time, this was the largest gathering of people in Washington, DC’s history.  This march is where Rev. King delivered his most famous speech, the “I Have a Dream” speech; where he sought to put civil rights advocacy at the top of the American governments agenda.  Thanks to television, millions of viewers at home participated in this march from their home. With this, words + images worked to create a powerful message across the country.

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What are some examples of media? TV, NEWS, RADIO, SOCIAL

How did image help to reach millions of viewers that day? TELEVISION CAPTURED THE MOMENT FOR ALL TO SEE

Imagine you saw this on TV with volume off. What’s the power behind this particular image? THE IMAGE ALONE WOULD MOVE ME TO TEARS. THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE COMING TOGETHER TO REPRESENT ONE VOICE CRYING FOR EQUALITY IS SO POWERFUL.

CREATIVE WRITING: In 1964, the United States Government would pass laws that gave civil rights to all Americans.  Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words and images live on today as a reminder to treat everyone with kindness and ensure equality in society. Reflect on how Rev King used words and image to change the world.  Imagine you are the consultant on a film project about RPM. How would you gather words of those using RPM. Would you…. gather words through survey questions? gather words through non-verbal interviews? Interview RPM interpreters? interview those who may not believe in RPM? interview those who do not believe in RPM? Once you had the “words” you felt best represented RPM – what story would you want to tell?  How would you tell this on film or in images?

I WOULD START BY HAVING THE SURVEY QUESTIONS PARTICULARLY AIMED AT THE SPECIALISTS IN THE AUTISM FIELD.  I WOULD ASK WHAT ARE THEIR VIEWS ON AUTISM. I WOULD FIRST ASK IF THEY THINK PEOPLE WITH AUTISM ARE CAPABLE OF LEARNING. THEN I WOULD ASK IF THEY THINK PEOPLE WITH AUTISM CAN COMMUNICATE USING RPM.

NEXT I WOULD SURVEY FAMILIES OF AUTISTIC PEOPLE AND ASK THEM IF THEY THOUGHT THAT THEIR AUTISTIC FAMILY MEMBER WAS CAPABLE OF LEARNING. SO AFTER THAT I WOULD ASK THE SAME QUESTION TO EDUCATORS, AND RPM TEACHERS AND THEN ADMINISTRATORS. AFTER I HAD ALL THIS INFORMATION, I WOULD LOOK FOR RECURRING THEMES. I WOULD TAKE THOSE THEMES AND CREATE A MUSIC VIDEO. IN THE VIDEO AUTISTIC PEOPLE WOULD BE HOLDING SIGNS WITH THE THEMES WRITTEN ON THEM. SLOWLY THE SIGNS WOULD BE REPLACED WITH THE WORDS OF THE AUTISTIC PEOPLE THAT THEY SPOKE THROUGH RPM. STUPID STEREOTYPES WOULD BE SHATTERED. SOCIETY NEEDS TO VIEW US IN A WHOLE NEW LIGHT.

What are your expected results/themes? I WOULD EXPECT THAT EDUCATORS DON’T BELIEVE THAT WE ARE SMART.  I WOULD EXPECT THAT FAMILIES ARE HOPEFUL. I WOULD EXPECT THAT RPM TEACHERS ARE CONFIDENT THAT THEY ARE SMART.

What type of music would be in the video? SONG WOULD BE INSTRUMENTAL.

In a collaborative writing (each student contributing a sentence to compose the paragraph), here is what my kids have to say about their film. THE GOAL OF OUR VIDEO IS TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT WE ARE AUTISTIC BUT NOT SILENT ANYMORE. (J)   EDUCATION IS A RIGHT WE HAVE BEEN DENIED FOR TOO LONG. (E) IF WE CAN MAKE A MOVIE WE CAN LEARN IN A REGULAR CLASSROOM. (H) THESE ARE OUR WORDS PLEASE LISTEN AND SPREAD THE WORD. (P)

This is going to be HUGE! I am so proud of my kiddos I could absolutely burst! If you happen to be in our lovely town of Herndon, Virginia on Sunday, please join us for the premiere of “The Power of Words”! If not, you will have your chance to see the video and help us spread it around the world on Monday, September 29, 2014!!!! ~Elizabeth

We the People…

Happy Constitution Day!! What? You did not know it was Constitution Day? I did not either until I stumbled across it while doing some research for RPM lessons. Since I am a well known “Holidork” (my own portmanteau describing my zeal for holiday decorating and celebrating), I was delighted to add another celebration into the year! I am including you in the celebration by sharing this lesson on the Constitution of the United States with you. (I will wait while you rustle up your patriotic party gear!)  Ready? Yesterday, I did this lesson with my three big guys – my oldest and incredibly wise clients – Paul, Ben and Huan. I had a blast! What could have been a dry and boring lesson turned into a delight.

*Note: I did this lesson with the guys individually but I am sharing their responses together.  This is only half of the lesson – it is a long one (and all we could do in an hour), this would be great one to do in a group! This is a complex lesson, as it is written, it best suited for older kids who are fluent in RPM and using open communication. Of course, you can always tweak any lesson (change the questions, modify the content, create choices, etc.) to reach your learner where they are in their communication and learning skills! All of 3 of the guys answered all the questions using RPM.  I have pulled from their collective responses to fill in the answers on the lesson below. If I have not credited the answer with a course, it means all three responded with the same answer to these factual questions.

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

CONSTITUTION DAY – SEPTEMBER 17

Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in June, 1776.  This declaration set forth our grievances against the British monarchy and began a united dialogue to break ties with England. March 1, 1782, the Continental Congress approved its first attempt at a constitution; the Articles of Confederation.  The Articles of Confederation sought to bring friendship among states that were weary of a centralized government. Congress worked another five years to create the Constitution of the United States of America.  Constitution Day is celebrated each year to commemorate the signing of the Constitution by 39 representatives on September 17, 1787.

Who drafted the Declaration of Independence?  THOMAS JEFFERSON

What year was the Declaration of Independence drafted? 1787

What did this declaration do? DECLARED INDEPENDENCE FROM ENGLAND (Ben)

What was the first documented attempt to create a constitution called? ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION

What did the Articles of Confederation seek to do? BRING FRIENDSHIP AMONG THE STATES (Huan)

How many years did it take our Congress to draft and ratify the Constitution of the United States of America? 5

What do we celebrate on September 17? CONSTITUTION DAY

How many representatives signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787? 39

Delegates from nearly all 13 states gathered at the Pennsylvania State House to participate in the Constitutional Convention. Many had fought in the American Revolution, and nearly three fourths had served in Congress.  George Washington was named presiding officer and all delegates spent May through September behind closed doors working out the details of the Constitution. Of the original 55 delegates, only 41 were present September 17, 1787 to sign the proposed Constitution. Three of those present; George Mason and Edmund Randolph of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, refused to sign the document.

In what war had delegates fought?  AMERICAN REVOLUTION

How many delegates had previously served in Congress? three fourths

How many original delegates attended the Constitutional Convention? 55

How many delegates were available to sign the Constitution on September 17, 1787? 41

How many of these delegates did sign the Constitution? 39

Name one delegate that did not sign the Constitution. GEORGE MASON (all three of the guys responded with this answer which gave me a great opportunity to “off road” from my lesson plans). Why is the name George Mason significant in Northern Virginia.  

  • Paul: THERE IS A UNIVERSITY NAMED AFTER HIM.  If you were enrolling in George Mason, what would you want to study?  I WOULD STUDY MATH, ECONOMICS AND FINANCE.
  • Huan: UNIVERSITY. If you were enrolling in George Mason, what would you want to study?  I AM NOT SURE.  I WOULD LIKE TO STUDY GENERAL STUDIES FIRST.  I NEED TO STUDY A BUNCH  OF THINGS FIRST TO CHOOSE A MAJOR.  (Very nice Huan!  I think many college students would do well to follow that advice! But that just may be the former academic advisor in me talking!)
  • Ben: UNIVERSITY IN FAIRFAX (that is the city GMU is in!)….HISTORY AND ECONOMICS.

*Elizabeth’s mental note to self: Self, study up on economics (that subject that made you crazy and drop your initial business major – thank goodness!!!!) and write more lessons on economics for these hungry brains! 

Persons who supported the Constitution were known as Federalists. Those opposed to our Constitution were known as anti-Federalists. Anti-Federalist attacked the Constitution as vague; lacking specificity regarding the rights of all people and limitations on the power of government.  On September 25, 1789 the first Congress proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution. 10 amendments were ratified, now called the Bill of Rights. At present time, there are 27 total amendments to the Constitution. 

If a person was opposed to the original Constitution, they were known as:  ANTI FEDERALISTS

What specificity did anti-Federalists want added to the Constitution? LIMITS ON GOVERNMENT POWER (Paul); GOVERNMENT POWER AND RIGHTS OF ALL GROUPS (Huan); HAD CONCERNS ABOUT THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT (Ben)

How many amendments were proposed during the first Congress in 1789? 12

How many amendments were ratified during the first Congress? 10

What were the first 10 ratified amendments called? BILL OF RIGHTS

How many total amendments have been made to the constitution as of present day? 27

So, if in this present day, how would you classify yourself – as a Federalist or Anti-Federalist? Why?

Ben: I WOULD BE A FEDERALIST.  AS A FEDERALIST, I WOULD SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTION.  EACH PART OF THE CONSTITUTION IS STILL RELEVANT TODAY. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT IN OUR COUNTRY. THE CONSTITUTION KEEPS OUR COUNTRY STRONG.

Huan: I WOULD BE A FEDERALIST.  I BELIEVE IN THE CONSTITUTION AND THE RIGHTS OF ALL CITIZENS.

Paul: ANTI-FEDERALIST.  I AM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT HAVING TOO MUCH POWER. SO I GO WITH THE REPUBLICANS.  THIS IS ENJOYABLE TO ME.  What is enjoyable?  This lesson or being a Republican? BOTH! (Paul, his mom and I are all laughing at this point. Also note, I never mentioned political parties in lesson or in any conversation – this is all Paul!) Can you guess what political party I tend to side with? DEMOCRATIC. You’re right, why did you guess this? BECAUSE YOU ARE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION AND HAVE A SOFT HEART.  Paul, you and I are on opposite sides of the political fence – can we still be friends?  YES, THATS WHAT MAKES IT GREAT!

My friends, these three made my soft heart melt yesterday! In honor of Constitution Day, here is a little present for you! This is a fabulous app from Kids Discover on the Constitution! (Act fast, because at the moment it is half off!).  I LOVE using these apps in RPM sessions.  Here’s is how I RPM-ify it….. as I plan the lesson, I go through the app, treating each “section” as a lesson.  I write questions ahead of time (I always want to be prepared ahead in my lessons so I can focus my energy on coaching responses, not making up content) – of course, tailor your questions to your learner.  Go through the section, reading the content aloud, asking questions, getting responses on the boards and enjoying the interactive features of the app.  This should provide several easy peasy lessons and add some pizazz to your RPM sessions! Who knew Constitution Day was going to be so much fun?

Back to School Countdown! 1….Huan

For many, tomorrow is the first day of school. Huan is here to count down this last day and share some fantastic news! Huan has been very clear about his feelings about his education.  At the beginning of the Summer, Huan, Ben, their families and I attended the Virginia State, I’m Determined Summit for youth with disabilities at James Madison University (I will tell you more about this amazing experience in a future post…so many great things to blog about, so little time!). The youth summit was very empowering! The guys participated in daily, small and large group sessions.  I tagged along, letter board in hand, serving as translator and trying to keep up with these two dynamos! The focus of the I’m Determined Summit was to encourage students to: advocate for themselves; navigate obstacles and roadblocks to their success; set short and long-term goals; and participate in their IEP (Individual Education Plan) meetings.  By the end of the summit, Huan had developed clearly defined plans. His long term goal:  ATTEND COLLEGE AS A RESIDENT STUDENT. To reach this goal, Huan specified his short-term goals, among those goals was: LEAVE SPECIAL EDUCATION IMMEDIATELY.  After reviewing the work Huan completed at the Youth Summit, his parents immediately called his school to schedule a new IEP meeting.  Huan completed the lesson below on August 14, 2014. Keep reading to find out what happened at the IEP meeting on August 28, 2014!

"The goal of education is not to educate for the sake of education but to learn," Huan.

“The goal of education is not to educate for the sake of education but to learn,” Huan.

Back to School
*Note, Huan has just started using the keyboard for his responses. Because this is a new skill, it is physically and mentally demanding, so we used the keyboard for the questions and quotes and the letter board for the creative writing.  

Today we are going to talk about education!

Spell Education.   EDUCATION

What do you think of when you hear the word education? LEARNING

Tell me one thing you expect to see at schools.  CLASSROOMS

Let’s discuss some famous quotes about education. Listen to the quote and tell me what you think it means.  (Click here for the entire lesson!) 

“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.”
~Conrad Hall (American cinematographer)
LEARNING NEVER STOPS.  YOU NEED TO MAKE FOR LONG TERM LEARNING.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
~ Nelson Mandela
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER AND YOU NEED POWER TO MAKE CHANGES IN THE WORLD.

“Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” ~John Dewey
THE GOAL OF EDUCATION IS NOT TO EDUCATE FOR THE SAKE OF EDUCATION BUT TO LEARN.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ~Aristotle
JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING DOES NOT MEAN IT IS A FACT.

“The older I grow, the more I am convinced that there is no education one can get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be gotten from contact with great men and women.” ~ Booker T. Washington
EDUCATION DOES NOT JUST HAPPEN AT SCHOOL.

Creative Writing: Write a letter to your teachers. Tell them about yourself. How do you learn best? What do you expect out of school this year?  What can they expect of you?

DEAR TEACHERS,
I AM OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR.  NICE TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE MY EXPECTATIONS TO YOU.  I EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO ATTEND REGULAR CLASSES AND ACCESS GENERAL ED CLASSES.  FAIR EDUCATION IS BASED ON INTELLIGENCE NOT ON SPEAKING ABILITY.  I DO NOT HAVE TO SPEAK TO LEARN OR ACCESS REGULAR ED.  I AM FULLY CAPABLE OF LEARNING WITHOUT TALKING.  I DO NOT REQUIRE AN AIDE AS I CAN GO TO CLASSES INDEPENDENTLY.  BASICALLY, I AM ONLY ASKING FOR THE SAME THINGS YOU PROVIDE ALL OTHER STUDENTS.
SINCERELY,
HUAN

It doesn’t get any more clear than this! With this intention set, Huan, his parents and I entered his IEP meeting Friday morning.  Huan led off the meeting with this statement that he spelled on the letter board, “I AM HAPPY TO BE HERE TODAY. PLEASE KNOW THAT I RESPECT YOU AS EDUCATORS AND I WOULD LIKE TO REQUEST THAT YOU ALLOW ME TO ATTEND REGULAR EDUCATION CLASSES THIS YEAR. EVEN THOUGH I AM NONSPEAKING, I AM CAPABLE OF LEARNING.”  Bam!!! That is an opening statement! From this point the discussions began in earnest. Huan responded to questions from the team on the letter board and the wireless keyboard. Over the course of the meeting, there was a slow shift…from shock and disbelief to admiration and acceptance (this was the first time anyone from Huan’s school had seen him using RPM.) Huan and his family are not asking for the school to use RPM, just to allow him to attend classes in general education. The bottom line….after much discussion, the committee has agreed that Huan can attend regular classes!!! Another IEP meeting is needed to work out all the particulars, but tomorrow, Huan will begin visiting some regular ed classes to determine which classes he would like to take! Huan’s response to the committee, THANK YOU FOR YOUR BELIEF IN ME.  IT MEANS SO MUCH TO ME.

Huan and I at his IEP.

Huan and I at his IEP!  “I would like to request that you allow me to attend regular education classes this year.”

WOW! This moment was one of the best of my entire career! Huan was completely relaxed and radiating confidence the entire meeting (I have to confess that my hands were shaking for at least the first 2 minutes). Huan, his family and I walked out of the meeting with as much decorum as possible, walked down the hall and broke out into the craziest happy dance you can imagine! One GIANT step for Huan, one small step forward for nonspeaking kids everywhere!!!! ~Elizabeth

 

Back to School Countdown! 2….Emma

Emma is ready for school and counting down 2 more days to go! Emma and I have worked together for 10 years. She and I laugh and learn from each other. Our sessions are loud! Over the summer, Emma’s fluency on the boards has improved significantly and I enjoy her insightful observations. I often wonder who is really teaching whom in our arrangement!

Emma celebrates her last few days of summer at hockey camp!

Emma celebrates her last few days of summer at hockey camp!

Back to School
Today we are going to talk about education!

Spell Education.  EDUCATION

What do you think of when you hear the word education?  SCHOOL

Tell me one thing you expect see at schools.  STUDENTS

Give me a word that goes with Hight School.  MESSY ROOMS

Let’s discuss some famous quotes about education. Listen to the quote and tell me what you think it means. (see all the quotes in this lesson here)

“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.”
~Conrad Hall (American cinematographer)
YOU MUST NEVER QUIT LEARNING BECAUSE THERE IS MORE TO KNOW.

“Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” ~John Dewey
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR EDUCATION. THERE IS SO MUCH TO LEARN FROM EVERY PERSON YOU MEET.

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”~ George Washington Carver
THE TRUTH WILL ALWAYS LEAD YOU TO FREEDOM. THE KEY IS TO KNOW THE TRUTH.

Creative Writing: Write a letter to your teachers. Tell them about yourself. How do you learn best? What do you expect out of school this year? What can be expected from you?

DEAR TEACHERS,
I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING YOU.  I AM REALLY SMART.  YOU SHOULD TRY TO CHALLENGE ME BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO WASTE MY EDUCATION.  I LIKE TO LEARN EVERYTHING THAT I CAN.  I DO NOT LIKE BEING TREATED LIKE A BABY.  I WANT TO BE TREATED LIKE I AM SMART AND CAPABLE OF LEARNING.  PLEASE RESPECT ME AND I WILL RESPECT YOU.
LOVE,
EMMA

I think my favorite quote is, “The truth will always lead you to freedom. The key is to know the truth.” Wise words Emma! I am looking forward to seeing all that you will learn this year! ~Elizabeth

Back to School Countdown! 3….Matthew

Meet Matthew! Matthew is a RPM newbie who picked up communication on the letter board quickly. (Remember, each person brings their own assets and challenges to the table when learning anything new….for some learning RPM is a quick process, for others it is a slow and steady process. The key is to meet your learner where they are!). Matthew is bright, inquisitive, has a definite sense of humor and perfect pitch! I have found that I often have one of the tunes that Matthew sang or hummed during our sessions stuck in my head. One little ditty stayed with me so long that by the end of the day, I was so hooked I had to download the song! Not all kids who use RPM are nonspeaking. Matthew has great speech and is able to be communicative through a mix of scripted and unscripted speech. When Matthew gets on the letter boards, he is able to access much richer, much more fluent, novel language. (Keep in mind, speech and language are two very different skills. I will talk more about that in an upcoming blog. Stay tuned!)

Matthew completed this lesson on education on his 6th session. His mom and I discussed the fact that this lesson is relatively complex requiring open-ended responses, which Matthew had just started to use in previous lessons. We agreed to raise the bar and see how Matthew would do (I could always modify the lesson as we went along if needed). Well….clearly, Matthew saw that bar, LEAPED over it and issued a challenge of his own! Once again, my clients show that they are willing and ready for educational challenges. Every day I am further convinced that my challenge to keep up with my eager learners!

photo (1)

Matthew advises, “Books can educate us and so can people. Read and listen.”

Back to School
Today we are going to talk about education!

Spell Education   EDUCATION

What do you think of when you hear the word education?  STUDENTS

Tell me one thing you expect see at school.  SCHEDULE

Give me a word that goes with your school?  ARTS AND CRAFTS

What do you think the following quotes mean? (Click here for the complete lesson)

“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.” ~Conrad Hall (American cinematographer)
MUST MOVE FORWARD IN SCHOOL AND LIFE.

 “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
~ Nelson Mandela
CHANGE THE WORLD BY EDUCATION OF ALL PEOPLE OF ALL TYPES.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ~Aristotle
INSIDE SCHOOL THE SCHOOL IS EMPTY. LEARNING CAN HAPPEN AND LISTENING CAN BE EDUCATIONAL.

“The older I grow, the more I am convinced that there is no education one can get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be gotten from contact with great men and women.” ~ Booker T. Washington
BOOKS CAN EDUCATE US AND SO CAN PEOPLE.  READ AND LISTEN.

Creative Writing: Write a letter to your teachers. Tell them about yourself. How do you learn best? What do you expect out of school this year? What can they expect of you?

DEAR MR. ________, [name deleted]
I AM REALLY HAPPY TO BE COMING TO SCHOOL AGAIN THIS YEAR.  I LIKE SCIENCE AND SOCIAL STUDIES.  IF THE PRINCIPAL AGREES AND THE STUDENTS WILL PARTICIPATE AND THE PARENTS WILL ALLOW IT  I HOPE YOU ARE WILLING TO BE REBELLIOUS AND REALLY TEACH US THIS YEAR. THINK ABOUT WILLINGNESS TO EDUCATE.
LOVE,
MATTHEW

Matthew, I hope that principals, students, parents and teachers everywhere will accept your invitation to be rebellious and presume competence! What if everyone just shifted their thinking a tiny bit and thought, “I bet they CAN” instead of, “I am sure they can’t”. Go ahead! Be “rebellious…think about willingness to educate”! Matthew and I are rooting for you! ~Elizabeth

Back to School Countdown! 4….Ethan

Ethan is another one of my kids who is facing a big change this year. He is entering Middle School (gulp), which can certainly be a tricky time for any kid! Actually, since Ethan is in Maryland, he is already back in school because they start the week before Labor Day. Once again, Ethan is a step ahead of us! Ethan will be included (with support and allowed to respond by typing on his iPad) in some general education classes! WooHoo! This is fantastic step forward and opportunity for Ethan to really learn and SHINE!

Last days at the beach before Ethan jumps back into school!

Last days at the beach before Ethan jumps back into school!

Back to School
Spell Education.  EDUCATION

What do you think of when you hear the word education?  LEARNING

Tell me one thing you expect see at schools.  STUDENTS

Give me a word that goes with Middle School.  FOR BIG KIDS

Let’s talk about some quotes about education. Listen to the quote and tell me what you think it means. (You can find the entire lesson here).

“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.”
~ Conrad Hall
FIRST YOU HAVE TO LEARN THEN YOU HAVE TO KEEP LEARNING.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ~ Aristotle
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU LEARN.

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”  ~George Washington Carver
EDUCATION IS THE SOLUTION TO UNLOCKING THE JAIL OF IGNORANCE.

Creative Writing: Write a letter to your new teachers.  Tell them about yourself.  How do you learn best. What do you expect out of school this year. What can they expect of you.

DEAR MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS,
MY NAME IS ETHAN.  I AM TWELVE YEARS OLD.  I AM EXCITED ABOUT MIDDLE SCHOOL. NOW I AM READY TO BE CHALLENGED.  MY EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT TO ME.  I WANT TO BE TAUGHT LIKE I AM SMART NOT LIKE I AM MENTALLY RETARDED. PLEASE DO NOT THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE I CANNOT TALK WELL THAT I CANNOT LEARN WELL.  I AM VERY SMART BUT MY BODY IS STUPID.  IT DOES NOT DO WHAT MY BRAIN TELLS IT TO DO.  THAT IS WHY SOMETIMES I MAKE NOISES OR ACT RIDICULOUS.  JUST IGNORE MY BODY AND TALK TO MY BRAIN.  I AM LISTENING ALL THE TIME ONLY IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE IT.   I AM LOTS OF FUN GIVE ME A CHANCE TO SHOW YOU.
SINCERELY,
ETHAN

Ethan, you have all the tools for success in Middle School this year; a supportive school, an encouraging family, a great brain, a means to communicate, and an incredible desire to learn! The sky is the limit!  ~Elizabeth

Back to School Countdown! 5….Davis

Ushering in day 5 is Davis!  This is the first you have heard from Davis (who recently turned 18) but it won’t be the last because he has plenty to share. Davis and I have been working together since the end of May and each session brings tremendous growth in his RPM skills. Davis and I share a love of coffee, Target and food. He has a smile that could melt Antarctica! Over the summer, Davis was often accompanied by his biggest fans – his two sisters who could not be more supportive or proud of their big brother and his communication breakthroughs! Davis’ mom reports that Davis loves his school but wants to be challenged academically. His entire family has been hard at work over the summer, feeding Davis’ hungry brain; working with him at the computer for online courses, reading aloud and including him in family discussions.

Davis and his little sister, Margaret, at Lake Tahoe (or as Davis calls it, Lake Taco).

Davis and his little sister, Margaret, at Lake Tahoe (or as Davis calls it, Lake Taco).

Back to School

Today we are going to talk about education!

Spell Education   EDUCATION

What do you think of when you hear the word education   LEARNING
Tell me one thing you expect see at schools   STUDENTS
Give me a word that goes with your school   LOUD
What do you think the following quotes mean? (You can find the complete lesson here).

“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.”~Conrad Hall (American cinematographer)
DO NOT STOP LEARNING EVEN WHEN YOU ARE OLD.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”~ Nelson Mandela

MANDELA WAS RIGHT.  EDUCATION IS A MUST IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD.

“Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” ~John Dewey
SCHOOL IS SUPPOSED TO READY YOU FOR LIFE NOT BORE YOU TO DEATH.

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” ~ George Washington Carver LIFE AS AN AUTISTIC HAS TAUGHT ME SO MUCH ABOUT THE WORLD THAT SCHOOL COULD NEVER TEACH ME.

Creative Writing:
 Write a letter to your teachers. Tell them about yourself. How do you learn best? What do you expect out of school this year?  What should they expect from you?

DEAR TEACHERS,
LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF BECAUSE YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW ME.  SO I AM SMART BUT YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW THAT.  IF YOU DID YOU WOULD TEACH ME SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU ARE.  STEP UP TO MY CHALLENGE.
LOVE,

DAVIS

Did I mention that Davis is a man who knows what he wants and does not pull any punches? Consistently, my kids who are spelling on the letter boards express a desire to learn! Remember that RPM is a method for education *and* communication! You do not have to be skilled on the letter boards or a teacher to engage kids in learning….read, expose (youtube, movies, news), explain and talk about the world, the arts, history, your interests, ANYTHING! There are opportunities to teach and learn everywhere – grab them! ~Elizabeth