At The Center for Autism & Dyslexia in Findlay, Courtney is doing her regular class with the students who have a wide variety of Autistic spectrum disorders. She has been teaching at Awakening Minds Art since last May, after graduating from Bluffton University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Art. “This is a perfect job for blending my education and skills.”
She meets with the students at The Center for Autism & Dyslexia three times a week for an hour (each) where AMA has a designated classroom for the classes on site. Her students at The Center for Autism & Dyslexia range from sixth graders through high school aged students. (Other AMA instructors come into the center for other age groups & classes.) Courtney had several students today as she taught them visual skills and coordination by painting with a fly swatter! The students had fun as they created their masterpieces of art under her direction and close guidance. Awakening Minds Art excels at creatively disguising work and developmental skills through art.
Courtney not only teaches at The Center for Autism & Dyslexia. She spends much of her day traveling to different sites such as nursing homes and public schools. She also spends time in the studio, especially on Saturdays, when she runs the Saturday Morning Painting Class that is open to the public! Courtney is on the Therapeutic Instructor Team, which also means she instructs private, one on one programs to special needs individuals focusing on developmental goals that aid in success outside of the studio.
Courtney is excited about moving into the new studio for several reasons, but at the top of her list is having private rooms for her one on one students that she works with. Majority of Courtney's one on one students are distracted very easily and struggle to maintain focus in the main studio room. The phone, the administration, people walking in, parents viewing close by... all of these make it extremely difficult to work on the goals set for each individual student.
Having more room to do lesson planning and having a space that is more handicap accessible are two other items at the top of her list!
Many parents these days have chosen to homeschool their children. They are always looking for innovative and diverse methods to teach their children and for opportunities to expose their students to other experiences. I met with two moms in such scenarios as they dropped off their children at Awakening Minds for Homeschool Visual Art class. They also use the class time as a chance to take a break from parenting and have “mom talk” over a cup of coffee.
Julia L. has a son Noah, who is six years old and has been a student at AMA for over two years. He and his mom drive up from Ada to attend Awakening Minds Homeschool Visual Art class. Julia learned about Awakening Minds through the internet, where she found a homeschool Facebook group. She was impressed with the reasonable cost and the diverse classes taught. The art skills were much more advanced than anything she herself had experienced in school. “This is not just a class where you pick up a brush and paint.”
Noah adapted quickly, and interacts well with the other students and instructors. She has seen his creativity develop as he now can draw what he imagines. It has also helped his handwriting improve.
Having seen the layout of the new building, she is impressed with the safety designs, the security of it entrances and having so many classrooms.
Her coffee date partner for the day is Lindy G. and Lindy looks forward to classes for a variety of reasons. She looks forward to a break and adult conversations while her three daughters are safely and busily working away on art projects.
Therese, Catherine and Lillian are 8, 6 and 5 and have been attending Awakening Minds for three years. “Art is not my strong point and I can’t teach that to my daughters at home.” She found AMA during a home school curriculum swap. Lindy finds the teachers very knowledgeable and comfortable. Her daughters were shy at first but quickly adapted and look forward to class.
It has been a struggle for her to get her girls to class especially during the downtown construction. She has had to walk several blocks in the cold with four children, crossing busy streets. “ I am excited about having a parking space right next to the building.”
Ms. Emily & Ms. Brittany, both who lead the Homeschool Visual Art programs, are excited about the new studio for many reasons. The classroom will be designed with security at top of mind, which will make it easier for them to control who is entering and leaving the classroom. They also are excited for a classroom that is less cluttered and has educational elements displayed throughout the space. Lastly, Ms. Brittany & Ms. Emily, who design lesson plans for over 50 homeschooled children, are ready to have more space to do their lesson planning, which right now happens in the middle of the current classroom with their plans stored in one small 12"x12" cubby in the studio. Fingers are always crossed their lesson plans don't accidentally get tossed into the trashcan or even into the fishtank!
TO HELP AWAKENING MINDS ART CONTINUE PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN LIKE ANDREW, PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TOWARDS THE AWAKENING MINDS ART CAPITAL CAMPAIGN!