Alternate Routes to Help Make Connections
While Jambo’s Journey™ is a roadmap for every child, it is specifically designed for the Atypical child. Ms. Jen began mentoring children on the autism spectrum in 2010 and knows first-hand that connecting the Atypical child to the world can be overwhelming. The COMPASS ICON will point caregivers to various alternate routes for children learning to overcome the challenges associated with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), ADD, and ADHD. Ms. Jen, together with TEAM JAMBO, has seen children transform and find their voices, connect to other children, and learn to SHINE in the world around them. The testimonials on the next page offer encouragement to parents and educators who have seen the transformation first hand.
In an effort to help Atypical students find their voices Ms. Jen created the endangered puppet activity.
Step 1) RESEARCH:
Together we calmly and quietly research endangered animals. ” I find that all of my autistic students like the research process and enjoy acquiring deep domain knowledge of topics that interest them.” It is fascinating that they are independently motivated to dig deeper on their own and are drawn to the endangered animals and their plight. They find extreme self-satisfaction teaching others little known facts about the animals and take great pride in themselves that they can “instruct the teacher.” Researching several species will reduce their tendency to perseverate, and will also fulfill a natural desire, these sometimes unknowingly highly intelligent children have to broaden their knowledge base. The animal kingdom is so vast and this topic excites them to study multiple animals rather than fixating on one.
Step 2) IDENTIFY THEIR ALTER EGO:
Next help children identify their favorite animal. Engage students by asking them to carefully study photos of the animals. Ask them to describe in great detail what they see. As if doing a “character study” they list the physical attributes of their favorite animal. The goal of this step is to help them find a connection or attachment to a specific animal. Once they decide what animal they will protect and be an advocate for, engage them in the puppet activity found on the ” Puppet page “, they can make a new puppet every time they research a new animal.The puppet also serves as a “fidget,” another well accepted tool Atypical children rely on. This animal puppet will become the ALTER EGO that will enable them to speak as their animal “character”. Watch your child connect to friends and family with their puppet.
Step 3) THE PERFORMANCE:
The culmination of this project is the show.” As an actress and mentor, this is always the high point of my children’s programs.” A child, their character or alter ego, a stage, an audience, a script, and a magical transformation. This puppet activity gives each child the opportunity to SHINE. “I am thrilled to see my brilliant students attach to the puppet they’ve made; why wouldn’t they? I am in awe at the vehicle the puppet serves to connect them to their own powerful voice.” The puppet or alter ego offers a safeguard that encourages the child to speak without feeling pressure or criticism. In theatre, an actor can tap into their vulnerability because the “fourth wall” is in place as a buffer. This wall or buffer safely separates the performer from the audience.
” Watching my Atypical students speak to an audience and SHINE just like my typical students, has filled me with a joy I can’t put in to words.” Jambo’s Journey ™ was designed to engage children in FUN and ARTISTIC activities. All of these activities 1) use creativity to impart knowledge 2) focus on topics that cultivate social skills and empathy 3) instill in children the desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves AND 4) offer EVERY child the opportunity to SHINE in the world around them.
I hope this is helpful you as you go on your JOURNEY with your AMAZING child. ~ Ms. Jen