In My Own World

 

Hello everyone. Its Colin blogging again on this Odyssey Scholars page. Today I am going to be blogging about the biggest breakthrough that I have had in my project thus far. A few weeks ago I watched documentary about The Miracle Project. I thought that it was absolutely enthralling, and really enlightening to the world of autism. At the point at which I watched this documentary, I never thought that a couple days later I would be talking to the director of this project on the phone. I talked to Elaine Hall on Friday afternoon, and it was the most illuminating experience of my project, and further, my entire life thus far. I talked to her for about an hour on Friday, and she really confirmed everything that I believed in the first place. She also told me her story of how she adopted her son Neal from Russia when he was two years old. She said that when she saw him in the orphanage, something within her and within him just connected. She joined his world. Ms. Hall really joined Neal's world. Ms. Hall also told me that she has friends who are really into theatre and are ok with things that seem outside the box because, to them, there is no box. Since there was and is no box in these people's lives, they were also able to join Neal's world.

Something else she said really stood out to me. It was how she "wrangled" all of these kids, who were challenged with being somewhere on the Autism Spectrum, into being ready for a full-on performance at the end of a week of rehearsals. Also, how she managed to keep them focused throughout the week was encouraging to me. When I asked her about "wrangling all of these kids," she told it me is was not about wrangling, or controlling, but really about creating the environment of calmness, truly understanding the kids' curiosity, accepting them, appreciating them, and listening to them. She also told me one of the things that I will never forget throughout this whole project and, perhaps the most important thing I've learned.  In her words: "the so-called 'normal', 'real' or 'typical world' is big, loud, overwhelming.  Neurotypical individuals try to make sense out of all the noise.  Individuals with autism recoil from the overstimulation.  They may create ways to soothe or calm themselves in the midst of the overwhelm.  Neurotypical folks actually do the same thing - sometimes with anti-anxiety medication or drugs or alcohol.  Neurotypicals try to fit into the craziness.  My friends, students and colleagues with autism are the most real human beings on the planet. Highly sensitive, emotional, and caring.   The world can actually be 'big' for those on the spectrum, given the right supports.  There are students from The Miracle Project who have performed live on stages in front of over 2,500 people; have traveled internationally, and have been successful on professional TV and film sets.  Because they have developed the inner resources and have been understood for who they are, they are able to tackle the 'big world.'"

I have some great notes on this interview and I will include the notes from a word document with everything that she said to me during our brief hour an the phone, which seemed like a lifetime.

Thats all for now. Be sure to keep following my blog for more outstanding breakthroughs!!!

Colin Miller

Notes:

Everything happened by accident.

Neil 21 years ago

Acting and movement coach.

Expresses feelings

Join his world. Do what he does.

Theatre people connection join his world

Purposeful movement and actions and feelings

Breaching gap between worlds

Now I see the moon Read the book

Use the creative art to understand people with autism and autism in general

Teach others the method

Creative community- safe and trained people

Inclusion from within

One person with autism- everyone is unique

All behavior is communication

Expressed and unexpressed needs

Every actor has a cofactor

Be more of a listener.

Seek first to understand then be understood

Extatic, acknowledged, validating feeling

Strict structure

Why not for everyone else? Why not for those with autism

Create the environment

Understanding curiosity

Accepting appreciating and listnening.

Week time

3 days full on camp

45 min performing. Aspects of their children never before seen

Necessary support

Big world. Very small with autism.

Very small and yet very profound

Canaries in the coal mine.

Truth tellers

Love autism

Difficulties, yet it is beautiful

World is open tenfold .

 

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Colin Miller