Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Acting and Theater Summer Program
At the Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders we are doing a summer theater program in collaboration with the Duluth Playhouse Children's Theater. Duluth Playhouse offers summer acting camps for children of all ages and we offer play based communication therapy to young children with autism. We are combining our expertise with the professional theater teaching staff and a wonderful set of volunteers (young High School and collage aged actors) at the Duluth Playhouse. We will be jointly offering weekly acting classes to two groups of children with autism. Using a black box theater space called The Playground for our group classes, we will offer eight one hour classes this summer.
Intensive Preparation Going On Here
For several weeks, everyone involved has been preparing with many serious discussions about autism and acting. Kate Horvath, Duluth Playhouse Children's Education Director has been organizing her volunteer staff and assembling them for training sessions on autism. Tamera Pogin and I, both novices at teaching acting but experienced teachers of children with autism are reading everything we can find that might prepare us to do this well. We have all the logistics figured out, I hope.
Video Modeling and Pre-teaching
In order to help our youngsters know what to do when they come for classes at the Playground Theater each week, I will be posting video models on this blog. Parents will help their child watch the video models in order to know what will happen in the group classes. We will also introduce all the volunteers and teachers to the children this way. While the classes will include groups of about ten children, all these children will come to see Tamera and I earlier in the week to practice skills related to the upcoming large group acting class. Tamera and I will see children in pairs.
Stories and Reflections
I will write about our adventures here on this blog. I will post clips of children learning and performing. You can follow along for the next ten weeks if you are interested and see how we do in our pilot theater/acting program. Stay Tuned.