Today, February 5th, marks our 100th day of school! In many ways, it’s difficult to believe that much time in the school years has already passed. Still, we’ve managed more than a few accomplishments in that short time.
We started the new school year with an inservice by Jim Donovan, M.Ed. on drumming. This is a training program designed to show professionals who work with children with autism and special needs how to facilitate strategies using music and rhythm. These clinically proven techniques were developed and tested at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA and are designed to meet goals such as increased attention to task, non-verbal expression, socialization and stress reduction. We were so excited about the initial results that we are having him return in March for a Level 2 program.
First initiated in January of 2018, we have continued to expand our implementation of Ukeru, a safe, comforting crisis management technique recognized as a best practice in restraint reduction. The main components of the Ukeru program include verbal and nonverbal communication, managing and deescalating conflict by converting/diverting aggression, building an environment focused on comfort versus control, and recognizing traumatic experiences of students we serve. We have seen a drastic reduction in our use of restraints in not only these past 100 days but the overall year.
The Arts have always played an important role at the BNI. We are participating in two important events this year. Currently, Shari Matalski, a creative teaching artist with Erie Arts & Culture and the PA Council of the Arts is working with some of our young ladies in a creative dance group during her 20-day residency. Creative dance helps build healthy minds, bodies, relationships and emotions, and thus far our students have really embraced the sessions. On another note, Trisha Yates of the Erie Playhouse is working with our students on the stage adaption of The Rainbow Fish. Last year was our first time to experience the “big stage” and we will be back again in May.
I can guarantee that there will be more exciting developments in the next 80 days; be sure to tune in!