Roxbury, NJ (December 19, 2016) – In an effort to work towards meeting the needs of all of its learners, more than a dozen Roxbury staff members attended The Miracle Project at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown last week.
This unique program proposes a new curriculum for children with autism spectrum disorders and other special needs by using music, dance, and theater to unlock the creativity, personalities, and potential of these children.
Elaine Hall, the organization founder, presented at the show and spoke of her personal journey as a parent with a child with autism. After the heartbreak of her son’s diagnosis, she chose to find a way to reach him and others like him.
The Miracle Project uses a groundbreaking methodology to provide individuals with autism and other disabilities the tools to build communication, social skills, community, and greater self-esteem through inclusive theater and expressive arts programs.
This program allows all children of all abilities to grow in skill and spirit while creating and performing in original musicals. The Miracle Project is dedicated to empowering those living with autism.
Roxbury staff members thought the presentation was thought provoking in many ways.
“I thought it was a great program to enhance communication skills and teach some really needed social interaction skills to individuals who could benefit. We could use the information to possibly refer parents of students who may be appropriate. Hopefully, it will be something that will grow and expand into schools and more communities,” shared Jennifer Toupet, a second-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School.
Teachers and support staff are already eager to incorporate facets of the program into their schools. Izzy Speronza, Jefferson, and Nixon elementary art teacher is already looking into it.
“I spoke with the center’s Education Director, Cathy Roy, after the lecture about the possibility of this program being offered to area schools in the future. She said down the line that is what they’re hoping for. This is their first year offering The Miracle Project classes at their center, so once they become certified they can do more community outreach programs as they grow.”
Carolyn Cuda and Patti Klein, Jefferson school special education teachers plan on developing a faculty meeting presentation to illustrate the value of The Miracle Project.
“Roxbury staff is certainly ready to incorporate elements of the project into their everyday teaching,” explained Klein.
Stefanie DelRusso, school counselor and anti-bullying specialist at Jefferson School can also see how this type of program would be impactful on the students and their families.
“An important takeaway from the presentation was the availability of support for students or families that we may be working with. The idea of being able to remind them that there can be such growth with students in areas that people are not always focusing on is an important piece to be able to share with people. Replicating the basics they touched upon, such as remembering that sometimes it’s necessary to get on the same level with a child and really understand what their perspective is can make a huge impact on one’s ability to learn and communicate.”
The Miracle Project for students with autism and other special needs begins January 5th at the MPAC Performing Arts School for ages 9-15. For more information regarding this project, please visit www.mayoarts.org/education/the-miracle-project.