When I found out that my position with the school district was being cut for the 2011-2012 school year, one of the things that made me the saddest was the fact that I would not get to continue to work with Ginny Thompson (an extremely talented speech-language pathologist at Perry Harrison). We did some pretty amazing collaboration on the district’s Autism Team and worked hard to combine the behavioral and social approach for students on our case loads.
I found out yesterday that Ginny and I will get to continue to work together next year thanks to the Osman Foundation that funds pilot programs in local schools. Needless to say, I am thrilled!
Now, because I know all of you are dying to know what we are going to do, I will share some more…
Ginny introduced the Social Thinking curriculum in Aidan’s classroom last year in an effort to help a very heterogeneous group of students learn to work together better. We collaborated behind the scenes to figure out ways students could be reinforced for using the skills she was teaching. This was tough at first, since 1st graders are naturally egocentric creatures and usually think of themselves before others. The results from Aidan’s class were amazing, which made us want to continue what was started last year in a more systematic way. Also, I wanted to be more involved and learn from Ginny. After 7 years of working together, I think we make a gosh darn good team 🙂
We have secured funding for the training materials for teachers at Perry Harrison, and right now we are planning on implementing the curriculum together in all 1st and 2nd grade classrooms next year. There will be some money for my time, but the Osman Foundation is also willing to serve as my fiscal sponsor so that we can apply for more funds for my time, and maybe even reach more classrooms next year. While the kids are at MeMa and PPops next week, I will be working hard on some grant applications. But, the hardest part (having a non-profit to support our work) has already been achieved.
I am excited about our new adventures and look forward to doing more proactive work (vs responding to students in crisis). I think this next phase of my professional life will be much less stressful and very rewarding.
Ginny and I have already been asked to present at the next Social Thinking providers conference in June to share what we learn from this school year. How exciting!
For folks that want to know *even* more about the Social Thinking approach, click here.
If you want to check out the website that Ginny and I are putting together (still a work in progress), click here.
Can you tell I am excited? Probably not…haha