Step by Step! Dance Classes - Down Syndrome and Autism Sessions

Posted Wednesday March 22 2017 at 3:55 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Two boys with teacher

Boston Conservatory at Berklee is expanding its offerings for children with special needs.  This spring, Step by Step will continue its dance program for children on the autism spectrum, while also adding a session for children with Down syndrome.

Step by Step teaches the basics of dance while incorporating social skills and the use of imagination and personal expression. Children dance to live music in a relaxed, fun environment and receive personalized attention from specially trained faculty. Parents or caretakers may stay during class time.

Age Range: 8-14 (If your child is not in the age range but you feel Step by Step is the right fit, please contact Kimberly Haack for approval before registering.)

Down Syndrome Session: Saturdays 9:00-10:00 a.m., March 25 - May 6, 2017 (7 sessions total)

Autism Session: Saturdays 10:00-11:00 a.m., March 25 - May 6, 2017 (7 sessions total)

Tuition: $120 per student for six sessions—the first session is free so that you can determine if this is the right fit for your child

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ReelAbilities Film Festival Boston - March 29 - April 6, 2017

Posted Wednesday March 22 2017 at 2:10 pm in Cultural Inclusion

ReelAbilities Boston

The sixth annual ReelAbilities - Boston Disabilities Film Festival takes place March 29 - April 6, 2017.  Films include:

Life, Animated - This Oscar-nominated documentary introduces us to Owen Suskind, a young man with autism who, as a child, was unable to speak until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate—immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films.  A coming-of-age story, the film follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence.  Wednesday, March 29, 2017 – 6:30 pm - Museum of Science Boston, Cahners Theatre.

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Kennedy Center Special Ed: NAEA National Convention 2017

Posted Wednesday March 22 2017 at 12:50 pm in Education

Jenna Gabriel - Kennedy Center Manager of Education

Our colleague, Jenna Gabriel, Manager of Special Education at VSA International, shares some important learnings and a call for action in this blog post. Arts education matters and arts educators need all the support they can get to successfully meet the needs of students with disabilities.

I walk into the Hilton 2nd floor lobby to pick up my NAEA registration materials and one thing is abundantly clear: I am not in Kansas anymore. The largest education conference I've ever been to topped out at 400 people and when Patricia Franklin, the President of the National Arts Education Association (NAEA) welcomes 7,000 art educators to the NAEA National Convention, my jaw drops. There are more than 350 sessions each day to prompt noisy, messy, and vital discussions of how we ensure that every child receives a well-rounded education enriched by meaningful participation in the arts. I feel like Dorothy in the wonderland of Oz.

I had the privilege of spending 4 days in this glorious cacophony last week, when I traveled to NYC to present "Arts as Inclusion: Holding Ourselves Accountable in Reaching Students with Disabilities" at the NAEA National Convention. In addition to my own presentation, I got to observe sessions, participate in conversations, and connect with arts teachers from around the country. I learned a lot, but want to share 3 things that have stuck with me as I return to the real world here in DC:

1.) Our work at the intersection of arts and special education is vital—perhaps more so now than ever before.

Spare me a quick moment for a #humblebrag: My session was packed.  In a room with chairs for 50 people, between 80 and 100 tried to cram in. People sat on the floor in the aisle and by my projector, stood in the back and spilled out into the hallway. As uncomfortable as they must have been, these teachers were actively engaged the entire time, asking questions about IEPs and instructional practice, offering insights from their own classroom experiences, and staying after to continue the conversation.

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