A story about Jackie
Jackie began attending The Maryland School for the Blind in 1994 at the age of seven. Her first experience of the MEAC program was in December 2009. Jackie attended fifteen sessions during the 2009-2010 school year, and 30 sessions the following school year. Both Jackie’s Para Educator, Ms. Denise Hromada, and Jackie’s parents were highly committed to the MEAC program, realizing the potential achievements and opportunities which would be offered to Jackie on a weekly basis.
Jackie, who has both hearing and visual impairments, and autism, has three goals set out for her every time she attends her weekly MEAC performance at The Jen C. Russo Arts Center:Tactile-InteractionAlertness, full participation in an activityTo express, without verbalization, a full range of emotions
The MEAC artists and the Para Educator work together to enable Jackie to meet these goals. Examples of Jackies hard work are documented in the Clinical data sheet case study, written by Joanne Margolius during the period of September 12th to December 12th, 2011.Tactile Interaction: Jackie when first introduced to the MEAC program seemed extremely uncomfortable with tactile interactions. She shied away from the offers of gentle touch on the hands by the MEAC artists……Jackie loves to reach out for many of the play props. Her favorite is the pot of magic dust. Jackie loves to put her hand into the pot and lift more dust out. One example of jackie’s love of the props was on October 25th, 2011, during the play, ‘Restored in Beauty’. Jackie became extremely illuminated, waving her arms, and making lots of vocal sounds, when she wanted to have the native American Moon-Drum brought to her. She enjoyed playing the drum, and was joyful to interact with the artists. When Jackie is disinterested in a prop, it normally indicates her feeling of fatigue and tiredness.Alertness: There has been a noticeable difference in Jackie’s alertness level, especially during the month of September. It does seem, however, as the school year progresses, she is starting to show signs of tiredness again. The MEAC artists do continue to interact with Jackie, even when she is very tired, as it is believed that Emotional Stimulation Therapy can still be felt and experienced in individuals who are in ‘sleep mode’.Even though Jackie is non-verbal, she is extremely expressive through her physical movements and sounds. Her emotional moods are very evident from her facial expressions and posture. Jackie has responded intensely to a range of emotions expressed to her during the twelve week block of MEAC performances. Her reactions are often appropriate: calm and happy in the beginning (Positive emotions), and very animated during the negative emotions. For example on October 18th, 2011, during the play, ‘Boz’s Shadow World’, Jackie was very tearful and fearful during the scene in which the character, Zaza is suffering.
MEAC will continue to develop Jackie’s confidence at emotional expression. Because Jackie will most likely have limited verbal abilities as an adult, this form of therapy will allow her to communicate her needs and wishes, and provide her with a fulfilling, deeply meaningful life.