Janet Lawson, MFT | July 14, 2009
Things are heating up around here and it’s not just the weather! This is going to be a fairly long newsletter as there is a lot to tell you about.
Dan’s Build Stuff Workshops (Friday and Sunday):
There are some wonderful projects happening: Phoebe is finishing up her Ramses II figures; Kris is truly closing in on the machine gun; Corey’s Harvey Milk diorama is taking shape; Carissa’s sword will be done within the next 2 workshops; Ross finished a fabulous dodecahedron in brass (Ross, did I get that right?); Sarah has designed and is completing a custom dog bed; Nick has finished the initial superstructure on his layout and will begin working on the train bridge.
On Sunday, Kris finished the Scrap Wood Carrier! Now we have no excuse for a messy barn. There are just 3 weeks left for this series of Build Stuff workshops so we are all focusing on finishing our projects!
Nate’s July Intensive Filmmaking Workshop:
The new July film workshop started last week and it is lots of fun. Wesley finished up Introducing Ray. This was a very ambitious project. Working with just our rudimentary filmmaking set up we managed to create a film in which Wesley played all the characters – no easy feat. I think the visual aspect of the project was very successful. But I think we need to work on our sound quality and dubbing techniques. Here is a link to Nate’s blog post about the film (click on the arrow to start the film). Write your comments in the box at the end of the post!
Devon completed her KOKORO project (all original drawings!) and she wrote the first student blog for the Autistry Studios site. Say hi to Devon by leaving a comment!
Steven is working on his next Bupim Films production – this time starring Bupim! It is another ambitious project using animation, live action Popsicle stick figures and Steven’s unique voice over.
Sarah is creating a claymation film entitled Termite about a young dog with a nasty chewing habit!
Wesley is also helping Ian finish his Kung Fu movie. Yesterday they shot a new scene to add to the sequence Ian created in the last workshop. Ian’s rough cut of Kung Fu Fighting can be found here.
Student Blogging: We can set up blogs for the Autistry Studios students to write about their projects. Devon jumped right in with a great first post. I look forward to a lot more blogging from all of you!
Polaris Pilot: We have been asked to participate in a pre-pilot study being done by Polaris Health Directions in Pennsylvania. Linda Toche-Manley is creating an online assessment and tracking system to support the treatment of adolescents and young adults with high functioning autism/Asperger’s (HFA/AS). Basically her software program will help track the progress of students as they develop skills needed to be successful in college and in the workplace. The process is that each student will fill out an online survey every month answering questions about themselves (the survey takes about 20 minutes to do). Parents are also encouraged to fill out surveys to get their perspective on change. How does this help us? As we go grow the Autistry Studios program we will need to apply for large grants. Most funding organizations ask for some proof that a program is successfully attaining its goals. We have no tests or other measurements to show that what we are all doing here is beneficial. We do have anecdotal stories and wonderful letters of support from you all. But for the big grants it would be good to show some ‘real’ data. Linda’s pilot is for students between the ages of 13 and 21. So, most of us fit in that category. Please let me know if you would be willing to help with this study. All data is strictly confidential.
About Grants: We are working on our 501(c)(3) status – lots of dreaded paperwork! In the mean time United Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay has very kindly agreed to be our fiscal sponsor. That means that we can now accept donations and those donations will be tax deductible. So, if you know of any organizations (foundations, family trusts, matching funds from employers, etc) who would like to contribute to Autistry Studios please let us know. I will get the necessary information to them. Our initial funding goals are for 1) Purchasing equipment and materials, 2) Opportunity Fund to offset fees for low income families, 3) Fund Autistry Studio internship positions for individuals who have participated in our workshops.
August Possibilities: We will be taking August off – well, that means not having formal workshops. But we will be here so let’s think of dates/times to hold get-togethers. We can also plan events – a film night, a field trip (there’s a great exhibit at the Asian Art Museum on Samurai stuff), or another activity of your choosing. We look forward to hearing your ideas!
Stay cool, Janet, Dan, Nate and Jen