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BAC Friends: November Newsletter

BAC Friends: November Newsletter

October has come and gone as quickly as the changing leaves and we cannot believe that we are now officially in the holiday season! To get into the holiday spirit, our BAC Friends coordinators have been planning a variety of winter and holiday themed crafts and activities that have been tailored to the interests of our students. These activities include things like baking holiday themed snacks (such as turkey cupcakes), doing holiday arts & crafts projects and playing games with holiday themes.

One of the skills our students are always working on is turn-taking, which is particularly helpful with the peers. We use games such as Bingo, Uno, Go Fish, Trouble, etc. to help teach while also making fun. The peers provide BAC students with guidance on turn-taking by using prompting strategies with visual aids and timers, which our instructors model for them until they get the hang of it themselves.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we're reflecting on all that we're thankful for and we're definitely thankful for all the incredible peers that volunteer each Thursday for this program! Thank you for a great month. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Anything But Typical
by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does. Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoenixBird - her name is Rebecca - could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to meet her, he's terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is. This is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy's struggles - and a story for everyone who has ever worried about fitting in. The book is available on Amazon.

Sophie Marcus-Wade

This month, we'd like to highlight one of our dedicated, all-star peer volunteers, Sophie. Sophie is a junior at Packer and this is her third year in the BAC Friends program. She was looking for a meaningful community service opportunity when she learned about our prorgram through other friends at her school. She says, "I was looking for a place when I could build new and fulfilling relationships". We're so glad she found and chose our program!

Having joined the program in 9th grade, at first, Sophie says, "it was all so new and different but I was eager to learn and didn't take long to feel comfortable." Now she's working alongside most of our students, has a ton of confidence and is a role model to newer volunteers.

Sophie arrives each week with great energy, always has a positive attitude and is quick to jump right in. She's learned during her time in this program to be adaptable to each student's needs and go with the flow each week.

Thank you, Sophie, for your dedication and enthusiasm to this program! Your fun, patient and kind spirit make you an all-star peer in our book!

For Some Children With Autism, Dance Is a Form of Expression
by Michele C. Hollow

As soon as James Griffin gets off the school bus he tells his mom, "Go dance, go dance." James is 14 and has autism, and his speech is limited. He's a participant in a program for children on the autism spectrum at the University of Delaware that is studying how dance affects behavior and verbal, social and motor skills.

One afternoon while dancing, he spun around, looked at his mother, smiled and shouted, "I love you."

His mom, Rachelan Griffin, said she had waited his whole like to hear him say those words. "I think that the program is a big part of that, because he was dancing when he said it," she said.

According to Anjana Bhat, an associate professor in the department of physical therapy at the University of Delaware, "Parents report that their children with autism enjoy musical activities and show more positive interactions with others through greater eye contact, smiling and speaking after engaging in a dance and music program."

Read full story here.