Archive for the ‘Flummox & Friends’ Category

These last few weeks have been very exciting ones for Communication Therapy!

First, on November 28, 2011, our Flummox & Friends Kickstarter project was fully funded! (For more information on this project, read all about it here.) The project met its funding goal 10 days before its deadline; by the end, $33,761 was raised. Amazing! We are grateful to all of our generous supporters, and we will be sure to post an update when the pilot episode is being filmed – we can hardly wait!

The next day, on November 29, Jordan Sadler, MS, CCC/SLP of  the Chicago office was mentioned in a New York Times article which provided information for parents on resources for finding the best apps for children with autism. The article, which provides a few excellent links to resources for families, can be found here.

Next up – also very exciting!! – on Monday, December 19th, a fantastic new book called Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism went on sale. The book contains an essay by Jordan Sadler, MS, CCC/SLP called, “What a Great Speech-Language Pathologist Can Do for Your Child with Autism”, which can also be found here, on the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism blog.

And, last but certainly not least, the Chicago office has two new therapists on staff! We are thrilled to welcome Adria Leno, MS, CCC-SLP and Erin Vollmer, MS, CCC-SLP. Both are excellent, experienced clinicians and we are so pleased to have them on our team. You can read more about them here.

We hope everyone has had a holiday filled with joy and laughter, and we wish each of you a very Happy New Year!

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This morning I find that my email inbox, Twitter feed, and Facebook status updates are flooded with the words “Black Friday”. Every office supply store I’ve ever ordered from, in addition to the pet store where I buy dog food and even local non-profits trying to sell more memberships, would like me to take advantage of their HUGE SALES today.

While I am not opposed to saving some money on things that might normally be out of reach, there are other things that need our time, attention, and – yes – money this weekend.

You see, tucked between emails from the retail stores this morning was a message from Kickstarter – you know, the fundraising website where we are working to raise money for our pilot episode of Flummox & Friends – and what that email told us was that we crossed a major milestone this morning: 299 generous backers have now pledged $25,025 towards our $30,000 goal. That, readers, is amazing!

We have exactly 14 days – just two weeks! – to raise $5,000. If we make it, we will be able to shoot the pilot episode of this hilarious, live-action show designed for the quirky kids in our lives to see characters they can relate to — bright, interesting people who find themselves confused and confounded by social situations and the rules that govern them. Perhaps you’ve struggled like this, or someone who passed you the gravy yesterday still does. But if we don’t raise this last $5,000 in the next 14 days, we will not get any of the money. That is how Kickstarter works.

For more information on the show, visit our website or come on over here and take a look at this summary of what people around the web are saying about Flummox & Friends.

I encourage readers to consider our little project – which some have referred to as the Little Project That Could – on this Black Friday. Because we need your help to make it happen – and we suspect you’ll feel especially good about Black Friday if you share a little of your hard-earned money helping Professor Flummox, Wanda, and Milo come to life.

C’mon over – watch our video and help us out today.

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Nearly two years ago, my good friend Christa Dahlstrom (whom I met initially through her excellent blog Hyperlexicon) approached me tentatively over brunch. It seemed she had an idea to share, and she was looking for advice. As it turned out, Christa’s idea was to write a children’s TV show, one that would help children like her own son Ben learn to improve his social-emotional development in a new way.

You see, many kids – like Ben – learn language in its gestalt form: in “chunks”. They learn it through books and videos they find compelling, reading and watching over and over and over, and memorizing what they hear. Many, but not all, later repeat that language in real-time social interactions with other people. This is called delayed echolalia (here is a great post from blogger MOM-nos on her son’s stages of echolalia). Still other kids like to re-enact scenes they’ve watched or read, enlisting other children and adults to play the roles of the characters. And, finally, there are a great many children who simply find it easier to process information that is presented both verbally and visually in a high affect way that makes them laugh. When they can watch it more than once, all the better.

Ben’s mother had thought for a while that it would be incredibly beneficial if there were a show that her son found compelling which actually gave him strategies and models for appropriate social interactions – that he could watch with his parents and reenact, that his teachers and classmates could watch together and learn from, that his social skills coaches could watch with him and role play. Imagine the results if a child’s whole team were to use the same vocabulary and draw from the same examples! And what if we added episode guides for the adults, with suggestions for expanding beyond each episode with role-playing exercises and other interactive ideas to extend the learning into real-time social interaction? It was clear that this was an idea with wings.

There are products targeting social emotional teaching on the market. But, thus far, there’s nothing quite like the show Christa has created. Flummox & Friends is a live-action show that uses humor and playfulness and teaches without talking down to kids. When I read the first script I laughed out loud over and over and had a strong urge to send it to everyone I knew. We all recognize the difference between mainstream movies made for children that adults enjoy watching with our kids and those that we try to avoid. I knew right away that this would be a show parents would really have a great time watching, too. Families of kids who are on an atypical path of social-emotional development will watch, learn, and laugh together watching Flummox & Friends.

Liesl Wenzke Hartmann, MA, CCC/SLP of Communication Therapy San Francisco and I agreed to consult to the project as curriculum consultants and have worked closely with Christa to see that Flummox & Friends reflects therapeutic best practices and explains concepts in a way that our years of experience have proven works with children.

After many months of writing, rewriting, curriculum development, and consultation, the team has released a Kickstarter fundraising site in order to raise the money to shoot the pilot episode of Flummox & Friends. We have 42 more days to raise $30,000 and while we are off to a very strong start with many generous backers, it remains that this is a huge sum of money. I encourage each of you to visit our site, watch our short video – where you can get a glimpse of the show and a summary of our developmental, play-based philosophy – and help us out by backing our project and sharing it with other parents, educators, therapists, and anyone who has an interest in children with all kinds of minds.

Donate! “Like” us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Children everywhere will benefit.

Thank you for your support!

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