Monday, February 24, 2014

Dear George Lucas, Please Answer His Letter

Yesterday I saw a Star Wars comic book in my son's room.
My son does not go out and buy comic books on his own.
I hope he will some day.
So I was surprised. I didn't remember buying that
comic book. I've bought him Muppet Show comics,
because he's obsessed with The Muppet Show
Many of his peers, with or without autism, are
obsessed with Star Wars, but he isn't.
So I asked him where the comic book came from,
"I think George Lucas sent it."
And then I remembered The Letter.
We've tried to teach him to write down what really
bothers him instead of having a meltdown. Sometimes
that means a letter to a real person.
These letters are not the kind of missive you or I might
write to vent anger and then tear up when we cool down.
My son is not angry. He just wants to know 
everything about what interests him and has a hard time
accepting that sometimes there are no answers, or that
sometimes the people with the answers do not want to
share them.
If you or your child like The Muppet Show you may already
know that Seasons 1 - 3 are available on dvd. And that's it.
My son certainly does and he has searched the internet to
find out why. One theory out there is that Disney does
not have the rights to Star Wars, and Season 4 has a Star Wars spoof with Mark Hamill. I have no idea if this
is true, but it's a crazy litigious world out there and there's
a Clone Wars sized army of lawyers protecting 
billion dollar properties like the Star Wars universe.
So one day my son tells me he wants to write to George
Lucas and ask about it. With my help, he sent Mr. Lucas
a letter.
And back at Skywalker Ranch they sent out a form letter and
a comic book. Which is really far more than I expected.
Thank you, kind Star Wars Corporation PR folks.
With luck, perhaps he'll read that comic book some day.
But hey, Mr. Lucas, it would be beyond wonderful if you could
answer his letter. If the reason for delay has nothing to do with
Star Wars, say so. If it does - well then say or do what's in your
I expect nothing. But perhaps I'll be surprised again.


Spectrum Mom

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Billy Goats Gruff

Those of you who know me offline may not be surprised that
I am planning a creative dramatics class for kids with special 
needs - a free one time offering with Green Hills library this Fall. 
It will be all about having fun. Because my son always loved to
act out The Billy Goats Gruff, my tentative plan is to start by 
reading that and then have the kids act out (with directions, but
in whatever way pleases them).
Let me know if you're interested in bringing your kids!*
I was delighted to see that Nashville Opera turned to the
same source for its most recent opera for kids. And
they even offered a performance specifically for kids
with autism, which my family enjoyed very much. 
Everyone in the Nashville area still has the chance to 
see this show, which even addresses theory of mind 
(other people have feelings) and how to be a friend 
(ask someone to play).
More information below and on the Nashville Opera
* Scheduled (as of this writing in April) for Saturday,
September 20 at 10:30.
Free Public Performances 
of Billy Goats Gruff, 2014!

HCA/TriStar and Nashville Opera On Tour present John Davies’ Billy Goats Gruff, an operatic twist on the literary classic.  The story follows three young goats – Lucy, Ernesto, and Dandini – on their way home from school.  They attempt to cross a bridge blocked by the mean bully goat, Osmin.  The goats try to outsmart Osmin and figure out a way to soften the bully’s heart.  This contemporary retelling tackles the issue of bullying and promotes the power of kindness.  Our family-friendly 40-minute production is sung in English and features music from operas by Mozart, Donizetti, and Rossini.  Enjoy fun sets, costumes, audience interaction, four professional opera singers, and a pianist – all members of Nashville Opera’s Mary Ragland Young Artist Program.  

Saturday, February 15-      PERFORMED 
2 p.m., Noah Liff Opera Center
(For Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders)  
This performance was specially tailored for children with autism spectrum disorder, but all are welcome to attend.  For special resources or to be put on our mailing list, please call 615.832.5242 or click here.

Sunday, February 22
10:30 a.m., GOODLETTSVILLE Public Library

Saturday, March 1
10 a.m., Conexión Américas at Casa Azafrán
2 p.m., Parthenon  (Opera Outtakes, instead of Billy Goats Gruff)

Saturday, March 8
10:30 a.m., Nashville Public Library
2 p.m., Edmonson Pike Public Library

Saturday, March 15
2:30 p.m., Williamson County Public Library
4 p.m., Williamson County Public Library

Sunday, March 16
11 a.m., Adventure Science Center
5 p.m., Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
(Meet & Greet with Critter Encounters at 4 p.m.!)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ten Minutes Till Bedtime

My thirteen year old still remembers all the words from this
picture book (there aren’t that many). 
But it is the pictures that stay with me.
The hamsters’ tour of a little boy’s bedtime infuses his
nightly routine with magic and mirth.
No one does bedtime like Peggy Rathman 
(see Goodnight Gorilla)
and while all the hamsters qualify as adorable,
the hamster family with the numbered shirts
let you and your child play a much more 
satisfactory game than Where's Waldo.
One is a photographer, one a daredevil,
one a mimic, one a .  .  . well you get the
idea. Each hamster has its own personality
seen in every picture spread all the way to
the immensely satisfying end of the bedtime
For those children who want more hamster bedtime
fun, Peggy Rathman even offers a a hamstertour website 
with coloring pages, little animations, and activities (I
could not get the little games to play, but my computer
is often persnickety).
Despite the hamster element, the pictures are realistic 
enough to serve as a social story about your child's 
bedtime routine. 
Even if it doesn't help you get your child to brush teeth,
bathe, put on pajamas and hop into bed on time, the
two of you will enjoy the tour.