Project Zero

Below is a link to Harvard University’s Project Zero. This is a group/Think Tank whose main focus is on multiple intelligence and its implications, particularly in the educational arena. Howard Gardner himself, who created the Multiple Intelligence theory, is a part of this group. This is a great resource if you want to learn more about the background of my upcoming classes and thesis work. They also have events and projects throughout the year. I may try to attend one next year if I can.

Harvard University’s Project Zero

Also, be aware that if I seem quiet on the posting front, it’s because there is a LOT going on behind the scenes. I am trying to consistently post every Wednesday, and possibly add on Saturday as I get closer to relaunching this site. It is tough balancing an increasingly demanding day job and the launch of my own business, but I’m excited about what’s coming!

Figure Out How You Learn

This video is a great introduction to some of the issues my thesis, and the SPARC program, addresses. Howard Gardner is featured heavily in my thesis, and his theory is part of the backbone of the SPARC program. We are all different types of learners, and we all have a wide variety of gifts to share with the world. What are yours?

Updates

Hi everyone!

Quick update on where I am on everything:

I have now added “The SPARC Program” page and the “Staff” page. These will probably be fine-tuned even more in the coming weeks, but right now I’m just happy I figured out how to link everything! I will probably add a FAQ page once the blueprint for the program is formally written.

The thesis is now moving on to Final Edit check. After that, I plan to add it to ProQuest (which will make the thesis searchable) and start looking at journals for publishing.

I am starting to outline the entire SPARC program, including its format, questionaries, and variations. Right now, I’m also looking at creating supplement programs for parents, siblings, and even schools.

There will be a YouTube channel, so stay tuned for that!

There will also be a book, which I will start writing in July. The book will have a similar theme to the thesis and the program. I will be posting soon about a call for interviews.

So yes, lots going on right now, but I am super excited about all of it! There’s something amazing about doing what you feel called to do, and I want as many people as possible to know that feeling as well. I can’t wait to share all of this!

Thesis Is Written!

It’s written. Holy cow, it is actually written.

Yesterday morning I sent my thesis to both my editor and my thesis committee to start the editing process.

I have finished documents before: I have won the National Novel Writing Month contest 7 of the 8 years that I entered. The big difference there, though, was that no one saw my work. It was word counted by a bot to confirm 50,000 words, and that was that. This is the first time that I have written an entire document that I am deeply passionate about, and sent it out for several people to read (and probably rip it apart in some sense). I actually know that it can better, and I’m actually really excited to see how to expand it and make it better.

This process showed me aspects of the autism world that I thought I knew, but really didn’t. I had an inkling of the effect some forms of therapy have on autistic clients, but I had no idea about the depth. Some approaches can be absolute confidence killers if not executed properly. I also learned that, contrary to popular belief, these kiddos don’t have just one specific interest. They sometimes have several that have some general tie-in to each other. One of my interviewees, “Sarah,” loves studying insects, is fascinated with the California drought and how to reverse it, and likes playfully debating about the science of flying cars with her dad. All of this falls under one heading: science. Using Gardner’s breakdown of multiple intelligence, she appears to fall into the Naturalist and perhaps the Mathematical types.

As small as this thesis is (I don’t think it will pass 70 pages in the end and I only did 3 case studies), it has given me a starting point for both a book and a business. It gave confirmation of what is missing. Strangely enough, a phone conversation I had last week with an ex also confirmed to me that a strength-based enrichment program could do wonders for “neurotypicals” as well.

I took this weekend off to let my brain rest after being turned to complete mush from all of the writing, but I’m going to be doing some serious planning starting tomorrow.

It’s time to get to work.

Curiosity Can Be Good

I went to a friend’s birthday brunch over the weekend. This is a group I don’t see very often, mostly because they tend to do a lot of things in the North Bay, and I’m in the South. Driving an hour on a Friday, during rush hour, for dinner is too much of a pain for me. Anyway, whenever this friend has get-togethers at her place (which is a little closer), I get to see this group. Amongst them is a woman that shares a like of The Vampire Diaries with me, but up until Saturday, I figured that this was all we had in common.

While catching up, she admitted that she didn’t know that I was both working and going to school full-time. I figured that this, in her mind at least, excused me not attending some of her get-togethers. She asked about my thesis, and when I explained that it was about autism, the floodgate of questions started.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes questions can be deeply annoying if they are coming from the wrong angle. I have heard some really weird ones about autism, some that borderline on insulting. Then there are questions like this woman’s. She was genuinely curious. She asked about signs, the latest research, and what I hope to do with the thesis (Publish it? Yes. Turn into a book? God willing, yes.). Then I discovered why: one of her best friends has a teenage son with autism.

We must’ve talked for at least an hour. When she finally got ready to leave, she thanked me for “putting up with” her questions. She admitted that she had felt weird about asking her friend too many questions, and she appreciate my willingness to explain things in a way she understood (for example, explaining what “spatial intelligence” is). It was a challenge sometimes for me to explain certain concepts or ideas, but it felt good to know that there was one more person out there now that understood autism in a more complete way.

Sometimes people are afraid to ask questions. Even the insult-sounding ones, though vexing, are an opportunity to educate. I will always make it a point to encourage others to ask.

Thesis Update

Hello all!

The last several weeks have been a whirlwind, but I am super excited at the fact that my thesis on autism and spiritual/creative gifts has a thesis committee and is in the process of going through the ethics committee! My thesis committee has been amazing at helping me fine tune and enhance the proposal so that it is concise, understandable, and academic. The part that I really love, though, is how excited the committee is about the topic.

There is certainly something to the saying “when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.” In the last 2-3 weeks, I have seen several teachers appear. These are others who, like myself, refuse to look at autism as just a set of behaviors to be corrected. Some are on the spectrum themselves. The teachers have also been of different ages, as several of my young clients are also teaching me every day.

In the next few weeks, I will be moving into the interview stage. I have a couple of kiddos and adults in mind, but I am always open to more voices. Even if they don’t end up in the thesis paper, they will probably be in the book I’m planning to write about the subject/program once I graduate in June.

I’m in the Bay Area of California, but thanks to this lovely invention called the Internet, I can also include people who are from all over. Even if you don’t want to participate in the thesis or the book, I love to chat with people about this subject. In my area, there are a handful of us in the field who feel this way. We would all like to see that handful grow.

Interested in participating, or know someone who may? Have a question about what I’m studying, or my plans for the SPARC program? Just want to say hello? Shoot me an email at sparcguidance@gmail.com.