Monday, October 25, 2010

A Report from One of Our Classrooms

'Nala' Comes to Cushing

This past fall, 'Nala', a trained therapy dog has been coming on Thursdays to visit the school program. Barbara, a volunteer in the Challenger Classroom, has been doing presentations to each class with Nala. They have been learning about how to care for pets, such as Nala, by bathing, brushing, and even cleaning teeth!

Nala has also spent time with some students. They have been taking turns and doing oral reading of books and stories to Nala. The students have stated that they feel 'relaxed' while reading aloud to Nala.

We all have enjoyed the Nala visits and have learned about how animals can really help people.

The Challenger Classroom

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

MIT's McGovern Institute Studies Autism

Last week I attended a program honoring 10 years of the McGovern Institute and its study of the brain. Among the speakers, Gerald Fischbach, M.D. of The Simons Foundation, stood out to me as he shared the work being done in understanding autism. He also explained that we are not in the middle of an autism explosion, as some media would like you to believe. Instead, we are now able to classify people who have other disabilities in addition to autism. So, we are seeing people with autism and intellectual disability, autism and bi-polar, autism and Down syndrome, etc. The actual numbers of individuals with just autism has not changed but, we are now able to include in the autism spectrum and the numbers being counted, people with autism in addition to other conditions.
Jane Pauley, who shared her own story of mental illness and Alan Alda were also among the evening's speakers.
Jo Ann and Alan Alda