Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Words = Attitude"

This week I found an old blue bracelet from Autism Speaks. It has the words "Express, Embrace, Engage, Enable, and Expand" engraved in it. These are excellent words to encourage families and professionals to treat children on the Autistic Spectrum in a caring, supportive, and social way.

Autism Speaks' attitude correlates to our mission and goals. Learning on the Log's main words are INTERACT, RELATE, and COMMUNICATE. It reminds our staff to relentlessly pursue social skills goals above anything else, and help each child develop meaningful relationships with peers and staff. By participating in meaningful activities and interacting within meaningful relationships, the social skills learned here have a greater chance at being generalized to other parts of the child's life.

We continue to emphasize and market our 3 main goals because it is the attitude and philosophy in which our staff approach each session (no matter what the activity is).  It is a proven formula since 2001, and thousands of kids have benefited from it.

Two families agree:

"My husband and I often say to ourselves, we can never leave Atlanta because where on earth will our son find this kind of loving, healthy, aware, amazing community that he has found in Learning on the Log."

"They are doing excellent work, not easy work either, on a daily basis and we can't thank them enough for the sense of belonging, self-esteem, excitement, and love that they've provided for our son for the past 7 years"

- Armann Fenger

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Why Learning on the Log is Different"

Our core principles include INTERACTRELATE, and COMMUNICATE, but what does that really mean?

It means that participants at Learning on the Log develop social skills in natural situations such as hiking on a trail, playing games in a pool, navigating a playground, climbing on a rock wall, or testing their skills on a sports field.

Through the development of friendships with our staff and other children, each child encounters scenarios that will have a greater meaning to them personally, therefore motivating them to try again. Lessons learned during meaningful interactions, have a greater chance of generalizing to other social situations, such as at home with parents and siblings, and at school with teachers and peers.

We believe that social skills and strategies are learned through spontaneous and organic situations. Our staff works very hard to nurture and support any conflicts (misunderstandings, frustrations, anger, or other challenging feelings) that arise naturally when a group of kids are put together. This emphasis of processing charged social-emotional episodes, sets Learning on the Log apart from other recreational programs who only emphasizes a sensory experience. Any social growth there is incidental. At Learning on the Log, we cultivate lasting social development.
- Armann Fenger

Monday, October 21, 2013

We've had some great events for LOTL families the last couple of weeks! Check out our Facebook for more pictures from these events and much more!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Executive Point of View: "Keep it Simple and Short"

"Keep it Short and Simple"

As all of us interact, we rely heavily on language as a tool for giving and receiving messages, and we often communicate at a rapid rate.  One of the counselors this summer reflected that she uses language to help the people she is with to feel relaxed and welcomed, and if the situation is anything but relaxed then the number of words she uses increases. 

Within Learning on the Log, processing language can be rather difficult, and when adults are not careful the language can become complex.  Our advice is to keep it short and simple.  This will allow each child to have a better chance at understanding the adult, and have a better chance at responding.  Keeping language interaction simple, increases the possibility for the interactions to be more successful, and confidence to starts to grow

For example, recently there was a misunderstanding between two students that resulted in some shoving.  As the emotions were high from both kids, our staff did a wonderful job of clarifying the situation so that neither child felt defensive or attacked.  They had an opportunity to re-live the situation and learn some positive social cues.  In this situation the two boys apologized for their part in the shoving and re-joined the larger group.

- Armann Fenger

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Executive Point of View: "You'll Never Walk Alone"

"You’ll Never Walk Alone"

My favorite English Premier Soccer League team is Liverpool. I have been rooting for them since I was a young kid pretending to be the famous Kenny Dalglish. Their slogan, since 1963, is a song called “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” This is sung loudly and proudly before each home game, by all the fans. This is a great slogan for Liverpool since they are cheered for worldwide.
At Learning on the Log, we also want our fans to know that “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” We have constantly increased the number of available programs, built a vast network of references of other professionals, and are trying to build a community where each family feels welcome and at home.
As they sing in Liverpool:

Walk on...
Walk on...
With hope...
In your heart...
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Come walk with Learning on the Log, and never walk alone... again