Take 2: An Innovative Program for Social Learning

Take 2 is a model program serving children with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism and their families. It affirmatively recruits a diverse group of children, serves families regardless of their ability to pay, and provides consultation to referring schools.
Mar 25, 2015

Building Curriculum. Literally.

In preparation for the trip
In preparation for the trip

This is certainly a first: I can say with confidence that I have never had a curriculum meeting at a hardware store before! 

The Take2 staff has done an exceptional job of envisioning activities for camp that target the same research-based principles in a fun, new way.  Most of them have been created and implemented.  Some of them, however, were at once wonderful and cost prohibitive.  This year, we decided to throw out the catalog, take matters into our own hands, and prepare for a very hands-on season of curriculum planning.  

What could we possibly be creating with raw materials like a tarp, lumber, and pvc pipe?  You'll have to check the next report to find out!  Until then, these previews will have to do:   

  • Talk tower - a pair of campers "blindly" bring a large tower to life by following only verbal instructions from one partner.
  • Blue Lagoon - a cooperative learning game in which many campers handle "the blue lagoon" together to reach a shared goal.
  • Hungry hungry humans - You may have seen this one on pinterest.  Campers will practice playing the "friendship game" with this 'activity time' game that resembles Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Several weeks from now, our wonderful staff will come together to build these curriculum activities for the Take2 community.  You, our dutiful supporters, provide us with the tools necessary to create a fun and inventive social learning environment; we cannot wait to reveal our progress.  Thank you for your continued dedication and support, which allows us to further our mission of helping children in our community with social learning needs. 

To track our progress and stay informed about Take2, you can also "like" us on our new facebook page! www.facebook.com/take2camp

Gratefully, 


Callie 

Dec 23, 2014

Fostering Season's Greetings

If you could remove one holiday stressor that you’re experiencing, what would it be?

Many of the adults to whom we posed this question reported that things like shopping, keeping to a tight schedule, trekking kids on errands and angry drivers were all major sources of stress.  These adults just wished that they could “skip to the good part and socialize with family and friends.”

But what if socializing with loved ones triggered our stress the most?

This is often the challenge for children with autism and other social learning disorders.  Finding respite among a flurry of changes in routine, new faces, unexpected events and high social demands is so difficult for our campers and can make their holiday season almost unbearable.  Take2 recognizes that the reality for many of its campers is that the 'social stressor' is actually present year-round, and we work hard to teach our campers how to feel confident and competent in the social world by practicing skills such as starting and maintaining a conversation, and teaching strategies like creating a 'plan B' to manage stress in the moment.  And of course, we practice gift giving and receiving, so fruitcakes are no longer a disappointment, but rather, a great substitute for birdseed (plan B)!

Knowing that our campers leave equipped with an arsenal of skills and a sense of mastery over the social challenges that the holidays bring is what makes our hearts grow three sizes.  As 2014 comes to a close, we remind you what an incredible gift your donation is to our campers and their families.  Subsidized tuition allows many more children struggling to make social connections learn how to access their family and peers in a way they were once unable to----not just during the season, but also year-round. 

To our donors, past present and future, we thank you for your support and are honored to be the recipients of your incredible charity.  

Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a New Year abundant with all of the things that make your hearts grow,

Callie

Oct 15, 2014

Take2 Middle School and Bonus Day, October 15th

Middle school Zoo excursion!
Middle school Zoo excursion!

Dear Friends of Take2,

     Since we communicated last, we were in the midst of a wonderful camp season.  Now, with another summer behind us, I’d like to take a moment to report on the success of our first summer of Take2 Middle School Camp. 

     This pilot curriculum, which was brought to life by a generous grant from the Reckson Foundation, surpassed our expectations.  Even more exciting was the impact the camp had on our campers.  The first two weeks of camp focused on flexibility and listening/communication.  The final two weeks of camp emphasized code-switching (changing behavior based on your surroundings) and self-advocacy, two essential skills for maturing adolescents.  Throughout the course of the program, campers used videos from their previous excursion to assess their progress and create new goals.  They got a chance to see themselves successfully advocating for correct change, asking a tourist at the zoo to take a group picture of them and problem-solving together when a plan went awry.   

     For the middle schoolers, learning to work together as a group was a central goal.  While it was sometimes challenging, the campers were always supportive of each other.  One camper whose expected item wasn’t on the menu at Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC received support from all of his fellow campers to come up with a solution to feel better and get a little of what he wanted.  What a victory!

    We consider your contributions to Take2 a victory as well, as they help us continue foster these wonderful moments.  Wednesday, October 15th is the final Bonus Day of the year through Global Giving.  All donations made will be matched 30%.  Donate early to get matching funds before they run out!

     Recently, several families have contacted me, asking about the 2015 summer availability.  Crazy? We don’t think so.  We’re thinking about the 2015 summer too.  In fact, we’re always thinking about Take2—but never without first acknowledging that our donors have afforded us, and the children who attend, the opportunity to count on Take2 year after year. 

 

Warmly,

Callie Stezar  

Planning the next trip
Planning the next trip
Natural History Museum trip
Natural History Museum trip
Our middle school staff
Our middle school staff
 

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