Joey just finished his week of Stage Door Stars, and it was Totally. Awesome.
This is a program to help kids with communication disorders and disabilities get together and have intensive therapy for a week, under the guise of putting on a play. They have a speech therapist, occupational therapists, theater teachers, special ed teachers, art teachers... and every kid gets a "coach" assigned to them for the week.
Joey loved loved loved it. He was bit nervous the first day, and pretended to be Quack the Duck all week, but he liked it, he wants to do it again next year, and he had a lot of fun.
The play was based on the book, Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae. Joey was a rhinoceros. He was fabulous. I would show you the clips, but you can see a lot of the other kids, and some of them would prefer not to be on the internet. So you have to take my word for it, he was fabulous and his usual beautiful hammy self up there.
However, he was also his usual beat behind on the dance routines and most of the lines. We might need to stress the sign language and visual supports more in stuff like this, because I know he notices and finds it frustrating.
The kids do everything to put on the play. They make the costumes (which included a tail they had to stuff, the headbands, the necklaces, and attaching squares of fabric to their t-shirts), the props, the set- there were paper flowers, paper plate snakes, paper ants, trees to be made, stars for the backdrop, everything. They had a choreographer come help them learn to move and dance, a drama instructor and director, they had the kids do everything. Each kid had a little dance they did with one or two other kids, a section of the book to say, and several group dances. They did a great job.
Joey had two awesome coaches for the week. He got to have two because during orientation, the staff was graced with witnessing one of Joey's bolting dashes out the door. I showed them Peep and the Big Wide World on the first day and explained the whole Quack thing, and then fell right into it. They didn't even mind when he signed himself in as Quack Guyton. Apparently, they went home, checked out the website, and were right in tune to help Joey along. They were awesome.
They have a couple of one-day workshops in the fall, and we are so totally there. And next summer? Sign us up!