The Big Move Part 2

Written on new years day… published more than a week later, true to form.
We’ve been enjoying the kind hospitality of some extremely tolerant friends for what was supposed to be a couple of weeks. At first we were going to be residing in the “fungeon”, a self contained mini unit type thing under our friends house, until the 14th… which became the 21st… then boxing day… and now finally we are getting out of their hair on new years day, quite fitting really. (Side note: we may have left… but our multitudes of stuff still lurk about downstairs… being all ominous and messy and shit)

During our extended stay we discovered a few things about suddenly living with another family, mainly to do with having 4 very different children living under one roof.

  1. Diseases: About a week into our stay our littlest brought home chickenpox from daycare. A generous a thoughtful gift that led to myself and her royal highness being quarantined in the lower deck so to speak for a week. Luckily our friend’s kids had already had chickenpox but we thought we would be extra cautious. And it was a very good thing we did because the chicken pox developed into school sores.

    2. Mornings and floorboards:
    It is entirely possible to differentiate between the footsteps of individual children, particularly at 7am, particularly when one of the 8 year olds has footsteps not unlike a herd of elephants.

    3. Mornings and instructions:
    “Don’t go upstairs and wake everyone up” translates as “march upstairs and gradually become louder until somebody yells at you… repeat”

    4. Fear:
    When your friends children no longer fear you, its time to go…

More moving updates to come…

“First school then vampires”… and other things I have said to small children

Today I dropped off my friend’s kids as well as my own. I am not the most lucid and competent of supervising adults at the best of times but this morning I was achieving a whole new level of panic parenting. As my eldest had a melt down because he couldn’t find his birthday party invitations, and my friend’s youngest was diving on his bag to stop me from removing a lego vampire he was trying to smuggle to school I found myself saying:
“School first, then vampire”. Obviously taken out of context this is a completely ridiculous statement, but not that unusual when communicating with small people. Here are the 13 stupidest things I have said to my children:

13. “Don’t poo… I’ll be right back” – Said in a moment of sheer desperation and panic, while my 3 year old makes very determined faces in someone else’s house, without a nappy on.
12. “Stop being a dog and eat your breakfast” – Please.. Mum would like I human child today. Get your face out of your cereal, and while I’m on the subject…
11. “Get your foot out of your food” – Why? Strange contortionist child. Very impressive but why?
10. “No Lightsabers before breakfast” – Mum and Dad are trying to sleep and there are only so many 5am, sci-fi sound effects we can handle.
9. “A vagina is not a type of penis” – To which my 8 year old screams at the top of his outraged lungs: “YES LOGAN TOLD ME VAGINA IS A PENIS” *embarrassment*
8. “Stop being a zombie and get dressed” – No really… Nude children walking muttering “brains” when they should be getting ready for bed is annoying and frankly a little disturbing.
7. “The cat is not a robot, please put down the screwdriver” – Poor Gizzy
6. “Stop farting at your nanna”- Or Nanna will start farting back, and nobody wants that.
5. “Ninjas do not get ice cream” – Neither do: samurais, celtic warriors, jedi knights, sith or pirates, anything really that feels the need to bring a weapon to the table.
4. “The cat cannot fly” – So please stop trying to teach her.
3. “Just sit down and feed Mr tickle some sultanas” – Or Mum may never finish her coffee and she may cry.
2. “People are not food” – Please stop trying to eat our toes when we are in bed you strange child.
1. “Please stop licking the cat” – Poor, poor Gizzy
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READING JOURNAL COD125 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT MURDOCH UNIVERSITY: AN EVALUATION OF ‘ODDYSEA’: A PROJECT BY SENSORIUM THEATRE

AN EVALUATION OF ‘ODDYSEA’: A PROJECT BY SENSORIUM THEATRE, DADAA, Australia[January 2014]

This is an evaluation made by DADAA Inc. of the immersive sensory theatre experience, Sensorium Theatre’s Oddysea performances and residency within primary and secondary schools that cater to children with a variety of disabilities. The company Sensorium Theatre has utilized the concept of dramaturgy which they define as “the art of shaping a story into a form that can be acted, emphasising interaction and expression” in a previous performance in 2012.

The value of a creative activity for disabled students is evaluated using DADAA’s six evaluation criteria which were used in this report to display the value of a sensory theatre residency in a school environment. DADAA refers to this evaluation criteria as the “Six key dimensions of value” and they are enjoyment, engagement, sensory stimulation, positive responses and behaviours, independence/autonomy and tailored experience. Whilst most of these are easy to evaluate through observation, due to the different ways that some children with disabilities react to stimuli and experiences the evaluation team found it particularly necessary to observe the performance in person as well as reviewing video footage of performances.

The feedback from the students was on the whole positive, but the sensory theatre experience was not without its apparent challenges, with some children responding adversely to certain aspects of the performance. The multisensory approach however, utilises aspects of all 5 basic senses, whilst problematic for some children, allowed the performers to find ways to interact with children who were severely disabled and unable to engage with verbal and visual aspects of the experience. Some of the children were also quite apprehensive but the presence of familiar faces such as teachers and carers seems to have had a comforting effect an also helped the performers to identify windows to interaction with children who may at first not be willing or able to be involved  in the performance experience.

When addressing the six dimensions of value defined earlier DADAA found that the program covered five of the prescribed values but lacked evidence of the performance tailoring experiences to each child. As a performance the benefits of the sensory theatre experience seem to engage with a wide variety of children with a wide variety of needs but this style of creative experience is not easily tailored to individual children as the performers are attempting to interact with a group of children rather than one on one consistent interaction. DADAA states the “tailored experience is tailored to individual needs/preferences of each child which makes it more likely of engagement”.

As there is very little documentation of sensory theatre due to it being relatively new in the sphere of disability education support but the benefits of sensory activities have been well documented with the importance of sensory play being explained thus; “Since all learning in the brain ultimately stems from sensory stimulation, the importance of our senses and of providing ample and appropriate opportunities for stimulation are apparent. For some children with special educational needs (SEN)” (Gascoyne, Sensory Play, Play in the EYFS 2011). So this sensory theatre experience looks to be a beneficial trend in Special Needs Education and associated services.

What questions does this reading raise?

Are there longitudinal studies of the long term effects of these sensory theatre practices?

How could similar programs be implemented that cater to adults? How would the program need to be modified?

How could these programs fit into a long term care and recreation program?

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