Some folks were recently asking about Friendship Circle so I thought I'd re-post two entries I had written on my old blog. They show two different aspects of Friendship Circle
Sorry it has been a week since i have blogged. I just have been trying to keep up with the daily activities! And I've been convicted that I've been doing too much computer.
This is a picture of Andrew at the Friendship Circle. It is part of the Jewish Community Center and it is an incredible program with a variety of activities. We do "Friends at Lifetown" where Andrew has a buddy, Matt, that he meets with weekly and they have the choice to go to a variety of rooms including: sensory, gross motor, art, dance and games and Andrew's favorite....the computer room. Occasionally they show movies in a small theater. The whole lower level of the building is a small city complete with a library, pet shop, dentist office, bank etc.... we have not participated in this however it a fantastic program to teach life skills to children with all sorts of disabilities. It truly is a small running city where you can actually open up a bank account and use it at the stores.
Last Monday we had our weekly Friends at Lifetown at the Friendship Circle where we meet up with our buddy. Andrew's buddy was not able to make it this time, however we wanted to go because we were going to experience the town "in action." Usually we play in a couple of the sensory room upstairs. This time they actually had the bank, store, movie theater and even hair salon open and running. (As a side note, the hair salon Fringe is a 'mini' version of the real Fringe located in Bloomfield Hills. I highly recommend Ted there. It is a great place. I could not convince Andrew to spend his cold hard cash on a haircut however.)
Back to Friends... Andrew was given $12 (real money) and a wallet to carry it in. He had to take a withdraw slip to the bank to get the money. (He has since told me all we need to do to buy things is go get money at the bank. That "work" lesson will come later I suppose.) All the stores and businesses were very real. He headed to the store. We spent much time in there and Andrew usually has such a hard time choosing things. We finally settled on two cards to give to his cousins. Isn't that sweet?? There were toys galore but he bought cards for his cousins. Then as a last minute thought, we picked up some Lays chips to take to the movies. They do have popcorn however Andrew can't eat that- but he can eat Lays. So it was very fun to pay the lady and then head over to the movies. The movies are quick 20 minute programs which are 100% perfect for Andrew. This turn at lifetown was doing whatever you want in the city. In typical sessions, they will map out a lesson for the child which is different each time. So for example, they may be in the movies and the movie will stop. They will have to figure out a solution with their volunteer; should they leave and ask for money back or stay and wait for the movie to keep playing? Although these things don't 'quite' fit with RDI and guided participation, it is very valuable and also fun. I will sign Andrew up for 'lessons at lifetown' next year.
One more quick note about our journey there. As I mentioned we spent quite a bit of time in the store as I wanted Andrew to be able to pick out something special. When all was said and done, his favorite thing was the movies and sharing the laughs with me. He also wanted to make sure he still had his ticket stub when we got home. Now that is special.