February "Leaps" Ahead

The mid-winter doldrums have arrived, and with very little fanfare.  Here on Cape Cod we've had just one significant snow...  the cranberry bogs have not yet frozen over...  and while it's chilly, we have yet to have more than a day or two of serious cold.  I can't really complain, of course: the terrific weather has made it easy to travel, and kept cabin fever at bay!

Winter on the Cape
January included the completion of an NEH grant for the New England Whaling Museum, and the establishment of an ongoing relationship with that organization.  They are digging deeply into topics such as American expansion, ethnic diversity, and the complex issues of assimilation for populations that came to the US from Cape Verde and Africa as a result of the whaling industry.  As one member of the staff said, "imagine the impact on visitors of an image of a black first mate, holding a harpoon aboard a Yankee whaler!"

As we work out the details of our next shared project, however, I find that much of my attention has turned back to writing, consulting, and speaking on the topic of community inclusion for children, families and adults with developmental differences and challenges.

Coming up later this month, my IMLS-funded consulting project with the Children's Museum of Boston has begun -- with a pair of focus group sessions to include both afterschool educators and parents of children with autism.  Once the focus groups are complete, I'll be putting together a guide for afterschool program directors and educators on inclusion, activity selection, accommodation and related topics.

What's on the horizon?

I'll be heading to New Hampshire in March for a two-day program at the Children's Museum in Portsmouth, where I will be meeting a whole new group of informal educators with a special interest in inclusion.  Also in March, I'll be delivering a "virtual lecture" to high school guidance counselors on the topic of "helping students with autism apply to college."

In April, I head to Philadelphia to be part of a committee of three advising a master's thesis at the University of the Arts.  The young woman working toward her degree is planning an exhibit specifically for kids with autism; I've never been a thesis advisor before, and the process is turning out to be more of a creative collaboration than I'd imagined!

I've also heard from the Boston Museum of Science: I'll be participating in a five-day, grant-funded workshop in May focused on the concept of universally designed museum technology.  I'm starting to do some research into the subject, but the reality is that we are all breaking exciting new ground.

Of course all these projects and programs, while potentially exciting and fulfilling, aren't enough to make a full time business perk along.  Fortunately, my client A-Pass Education, along with several other educational entities, are overflowing with opportunities for educational writing. I'm now diving head first into some SAT-related projects, assessment, and interactive educational projects...  Hoping to be coming up for air as spring arrives!