Temple Grandin’s visit to Canisius was quite an eventful evening. I had class until 7:00 that night, and mom was going to save a seat for me at Montante Cultural Center. I was meeting with my classmates to work on our final presentation until right before 8:00. I was shocked when my mom texted me at 7:10, just after the doors opened, and said that Montante was full and they weren’t allowing anyone else in. She said she was going to get a tea at Tim Hortons in the library. She texted me shortly after saying that she was going to the dining hall. I was so confused, I thought she was going to eat dinner there! So when I rushed over there at 7:55 I was amazed to see that the dining hall was an overflow for Temple Grandin’s lecture, and it was packed too. There was a big screen set up so we could see and hear the lecture.
Dr. Grandin spoke about her experience with autism throughout her life and her experience working in the field of animal behavior. She emphasized that her mother taught her manners and expected her to behave in church and at the dinner table. Dr. Grandin also gave several recommendations about encouraging children with autism. She explained that people with autism spectrum disorders have trouble with sensory input. For some people, it’s sounds, and she recommended allowing a child to be in control of a sound. For example, allow the child to activate a smoke detector under several towels, then slowly remove one towel at a time. Other people are sensitive to fluorescent lights, and wearing pale-colored sunglasses helps to mute strong lights. One man in the audience spoke about his granddaughter’s stim behaviors such as flapping her arms and spinning in circles. Dr. Grandin said that children do this to block out the sensory overload and calm themselves. She recommended allowing the child down time to do these behaviors at a certain time and place, but that the child should be taught that it is not acceptable at the dinner table.
Dr. Grandin’s sensitivity to stimuli in her environment has enabled her to understand the world of animals and design more humane and efficient cattle shoots at slaughterhouses. While some people may think that slaughterhouses could never be humane, Dr. Grandin emphasized that nature is cruel, and the cattle wouldn’t be alive if we hadn’t bred them.
Overall, I think Dr. Grandin’s lecture was inspiring for the fact that she is a woman with autism who has achieved so much, including a Ph.D. While autism can be a debilitating condition, some people can be quite successful, even brilliant, and Temple Grandin is a perfect example of someone who was allowed to explore and cultivate her special abilities.
I’m very interested in little kid humor. This is something I’d like to explore in my research class. How does humor affect teaching style? How does humor change as students progress in school?
Over the course of this semester, I’ve been in my cooperating teacher’s classroom and I have subbed in elementary and middle school classrooms. I’ve been around kids who have said some pretty funny things.
First, in a pre-K classroom that I was in this week, the teacher was showing a number comparison game for her math lesson. She put up a game that said “Camel Comparison.” This one little girl started laughing hysterically at this and rolled onto her back laughing and then sat up and looked around the room to see if anyone else was with her—did anyone else think this was as funny as she did (there were some other kids laughing)? I thought this was so interesting. It was such a simple thing, “Camel Comparison.” It took almost nothing to make this young girl laugh.
In the first grade classroom that I observe, this one student was wearing fancy shoes. She was sliding her foot in and out of the shoe and saying how uncomfortable they were. Then she said, “I don’t know why my toe has to do this” (meaning, she didn’t know why her toe was forced into such an uncomfortable situation. I found this very funny. I’m not sure if she did. She had such a nice sense of humor though—saying things that were truly funny.
Lastly, in the middle school classroom that I worked in, an eighth grade student who had Down Syndrome was working on some dittos. He would fill in the answer, then make a dot on the page and then look up at me and smile mischievously, as if to say “I wasn’t supposed to put a dot there, but I did!” He repeated this for about forty times and thought it was so funny each time.
I’m not sure the correlation between humor, age and teaching, but I do see that it changes. Sometimes it seems it takes so much for an adult to laugh, but barely anything for a young child to. When does our sense of humor get corrupted? When do we stop thinking something so simple is so funny? When do we stop laughing at the words “Camel Comparison?” I guess it’s a funny thing that I’d like to explore.
This week has felt more like the “real world” or what I would expect to feel like as an adult. Although we did not have classes Monday, thank goodness, having class, work and coaching all week has been exhausting. It seems fitting that in my Lifespan Development class, the topics this week were about mentors, elders and what life will be like at age 64. I can barely fathom what 24 at age 23 will feel like let alone 64. I guess at 64 I’d like to have a family and possibly (maybe) even grandchildren. I would like to think that I will be thinking about retirement from my profession as a school counselor but having zero social security won’t help my cause. We were asked to discuss these things on our discussion board and it is interesting to talk to people of all ages in my classes because they offer perspectives and past experiences that I can’t even imagine yet. This is another reason why I believe graduate school and attending a smaller school are more beneficial than undergraduate school and a large university.
This past weekend I was able to see a lot of my family as I went to Jamestown for Easter. I really enjoy the time I am able to spend with my family because as crazy as everyone is, it’s a lot of fun and almost relaxing. Easter was great as usual. I was able to have two different dinners followed by a ton of sweets and desserts. The dinners consisted of ham and lamb, two very delicious things. But it was a nice feeling to come back to my apartment and sleep in my own bed and wake up to the routine that I am used to.
Good luck winding down this semester!
Last Thursday was my 23rd birthday. I had the day off from school and work, and took full advantage of being able to sleep in and relax all day long. Then, I headed out to Hamburg for a family dinner. It was great excuse to get the whole family together again amidst all of our crazy busy schedules!
Friday night, a big group of my friends came to my apartment to celebrate. We had a great time. I couldn’t help but get a little upset at the fact that so many of my close friends that told me they were coming did not. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how important it is to appreciate the ones who did show up! As I have transitioned out of Undergrad and into Graduate school here at Canisius, my group of close friends has changed dramatically. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing- but naturally, as some friends move away or go to different schools, there are certain people you see and some you don’t see as often. It’s kind of like the saying: “separate the men from the boys”. I consider the friends who make an effort to stay in touch and get together every so often, men. The boys, in relation to the saying, are the friends that don’t put in any sort of effort, and act like your friend when it’s convenient.
I am happy to say that even though my life has changed dramatically in the past year, I still have a core group of friends I can count on. Those friends are the ones I will have forever- the friends that will stay with me regardless of where I live, where I go to school, or where I work.
I’ve gotten so caught up in my schoolwork, that I haven’t had a chance to tell you all about something amazing that happened two weekends ago! The weekend of April 15th, I went to D.C. to the Eastern Communications Association Conference to present my very own research!
Last year, I spent the school year working diligently in the Canisius Earning Excellence Program (CEEP) with Dr. Wanzer of the Communication studies department. She allowed me to choose my own topic for research, and after returning home from my fourth Winter Service Week volunteering in a hospital in New York City, I decided to conduct research on the benefits of volunteerism. After investigating previous research on the topic, conducting the research myself personally, and analyzing the data, I finally compiled a publishable research paper. The title of my paper reads: The Benefits of Volunteerism in Hospitals from Multiple Perspectives.
The purpose of my research was to prove that volunteerism in healthcare facilities is something that is important for all those involved. By collecting information from not only the volunteers themselves, but also the patients and healthcare providers at the facility, I was able to prove that the benefits of healthcare volunteer programs are invaluable.
At the ECA conference, I was provided the opportunity to present my research amongst other professionals in the field. In a panel setting, between two professors at universities, I confidently explained the benefits from volunteerism from multiple perspectives! I was told my presentation went well, and I was very proud of myself! I sure hope there is more of this to come!