Janet Lawson, MFT | April 23, 2013
Ah, the best laid plans of mice, men …and Janet often go astray. I had planned to write a newsletter every week during the month of April but somehow didn’t get to it.
April has been an amazing month so far. A group of program mangers from AspIT in Denmark visited Autistry. AspIT is a vocational program for ASD individuals focused on training IT professionals. They came to the Bay Area to visit Silicon Valley companies (specifically Google and Apple) and kept hearing people mention Autistry. We spent a great afternoon sharing ideas and teaching strategies. They were very interested in the wide range of projects our students produce and they loved the Studio. We have been invited to visit Denmark and we would love to put that trip on our calendar!
We also met with Stacy Frauwirth, Professor at Dominican University in the department of Occupational Therapy. Over the next year Stacy and a team of grad students will be working with Autistry to develop a battery of assessment instruments to log and track student development toward the goal of independence. This will involve the creation of assessment tools and the testing of these tools. At the end of the process Autistry will have a sophisticated set of assessment tools, a revamped intake process, and the ability to collect important data. This will be very, very important for us going forward as we develop our training program and apply for larger grants.
Several of our Autistry students and families were interviewed by LabZero to gather information on the creation of a new app specifically designed for ASD individuals. The LabZero software engineers spent two days at Autistry asking detailed questions about how our students use technology, what types of reminders or prompts would they find helpful, what difficulties do they have organizing their days, etc. We will continue to meet with the design team as the app is being developed. From all accounts the team learned a lot about the ASD mind!
Highlighting the Sunday Workshops:
Nathaniel’s dragons are getting more and more sophisticated. He is now scanning his drawings into the computer and adding color and texture in the Paint Shop program. He has learned to use the tablet and stylus which has given him a new range of expression in his drawings. Nathaniel continues to work on his Spore World diorama of mushroom forests, dragon nests and a river running through it.
George finished the jump ramp for his bike and is now hobbling around on a broken ankle! Do those two things go together – not necessarily. But he still gets around the Studio on a very cool 4-wheel scooter and is helping others with their projects. He helped Ashley with her chair and Noah with his parcour obstacle. We hope he is back on both feet soon.
Daniel S., the man-of-many-projects is working on another chest armor piece – this time in hard plastic. This is based on his earlier design which he fashioned out of floor mats. This new model he is making out of a large plastic bucket. How’s that for recycling. Daniel has also finished a guitar, refinished a Nerf rifle, made various launching gadgets, and …I have lost track now!
Devon has taken on a wonderful sewing project – Captain Jack Harkness’ jacket (from Dr. Who). Under the expert guidance of Amelia, she is first making a mockup out of muslin that she will use to make size and shape adjustments. The muslin version will then become the pattern for the real thing. Her hard work and attention to detail will pay off!
We are very happy to announce the completion of Marina’s Dr. Who Tardis. This has been a true labor of love. Marina used the band saw, the ShopBot, the router, the nail gun, all sorts of hand tools and paint brushes. In fact I think she used just about every tool in the shop. And the finished product looks great – let’s all go back in time.
Ben L. is just about finished with a shield to accompany the two swords he made earlier. The shield has a silhouette of a grey howling wolf on a black background – very dramatic. Ben has learned to sew as well as use the band saw and the hot knife. Oh, and the iron. All skills that will come in very handy one day.
REMINDER: Thursday, April 25th is the last day to purchase Stella & Dot jewelry through Suzi’s Trunk Show page to support Autistry Studios. Here is the link to use to start your shopping: http://www.stelladot.com/ts/qojo5.
Janet and the Autistry Team