Autistry shot into 2020 as if from a child’s slingshot with the Heart of Marin Award quickly followed by the Jefferson Award and now here we all are grounded like naughty teenagers.
The Autistry staff was not deterred. Within 2 days of the Shelter-in-Place (SIP) order they had all our clients online with access to our home base server on Discord. They helped each client download software to access group activities and stay engaged with our community. This was an incredible achievement which required hours of patiently giving directions over the phone on how to configure the different devices – iPads, laptops, tablets, iPhones, etc. The Autistry team is filled with gaming nerds and programmers who are fabulous at tech support.
A special shout out to Allie Mages who has uncovered hidden tech skills becoming the Autistry go-to tech admin person.
Many of the College of Marin courses that our students were taking have converted to online classes. We currently support students in Psychology, Multi-Media, English, Ethnic Studies, Organic Farming and Medical Assistant courses. Our mentors are able to continue supporting the students in class and also in online study groups led by the Autistry course mentors.
These sessions have been very successful and we will probably continue to offer these in addition to real-life groups after the SIP has been lifted. And we have discovered great ways to make learning fun: Claire and Annie playing hangman to help memorize medical terms.
For classes that have been cancelled the staff continue to meet with the students in online Zoom groups and have created curricula to replicate and extend the work the students had been doing at COM. This has been quite a challenge for Ceramics but Matt and Chuy are coming up with cool activities to keep everyone learning. The Voice for Actors class actually works well as a virtual experience. Phil and Reina give each student the opportunity to present their monologue to the others in a Zoom meeting and get feedback. They are doing monologues from Beauty and the Beast.
And even our paid internship crews are continuing to gain knowledge about their workplaces. Sara Gardner began this week to create online learning modules about horse care and characteristics. She plans to augment these modules with instructive videos on how to exercise horses and how to clean and maintain equipment. When they have a moment to spare, Dan will create some training modules on trains at the Western Railway Museum and Matt will design a module about Marin County Parks.