Lionsgate: School of Autism

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My long-time best friend, Adrian, is an E.A. and music teacher at Lionsgate Academy in Crystal, Mn. Lionsgate is a public high school and junior high designed for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, which is to say- the only school of its kind in MN. I've had the distinct pleasure of volunteering with, guest speaking to, performing for and hanging with the students Lionsgate. They are amazing. The ways that they process information, communicate and interact are so peculiar (albeit fascinating) when compared to what we think of as "normal." Many of the students fidget (Stereotypy), some don't speak at all and others fixate on specific subjects (Restricted Behavior) for example: one boy is an expert on the subject of Gibson and Fender electric guitars. He knows the history, place and process of manufacture, how to take care of the guitars- all of this, but he has no interest in playing a guitar. If you ask him about anything else in the world he relates it to electric guitars.

The list above was the most striking observation from my time spent at the school; the range of behaviour and social development from student to student in terms of how far those characteristics deviated from what many of us take for granted- and this is one of the reasons that management (or 'treatment') is often difficult. There are different schools of thought about which types of treatment and therapy are most effective, but as of now there doesn't seem to be any definitive answer. Therapies range from psychoactive drugs, to dietary supplements, music therapy, behavioural therapy and beyond. In the end it seems like Lionsgate is the best possible solution- a place where children and adolescents can grow and develop and receive different combinations of the above therapies and- all the while do the things that other "normal" children and adolescents want to do.

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Thank you for sharing about Lionsgate Academy! I was not aware we had a school for autistic kids-very cool. I've been looking after a pair of autistic twins for many years now, and it's astounding the things they can't do, when compared with their memory. Like you said about the guitar expert, one of the twins, Cameron, can identify every aspect about just about any movie you say to him; the director, studio, lead actors, release date, and he can even say quotes from the trailer, but he hasn't seen most of the movies he talks about. Thanks!

First of all, good for you! I worked for a non-profit organization this summer that provided recreational activities for individuals with developmental disabilities, so I think it's really great to see someone else helping out and donating their time to a group of people that truly appreciate it. I understand what you're saying about the broad spectrum of autism though. I think it's crazy how they can lump all of the varying types of autism into one disease. It makes sense though, because, regardless of the symptoms, autism has a profound effect on a person's memory, so I think it's very appropriate that you brought it up. Well done!

I enjoyed the personal touch that was incorporated into your blog!It was great to hear about your experience with these kids! Also, the video helped to give me a better idea of what you were writing about. Lionsgate Academy seems like a great option for these kids to attend.

This was awesome! I wish I could go volunteer at a school like that! Its so great that we have this school in Minnesota! Really great information in your bog, it was super interesting to read.

You are great school. I wish i could help the students and I think music can help them a lot.

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This page contains a single entry by rice0167 published on February 27, 2012 1:14 AM.

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