Drama Program Finale for Children with Autism | July 2019
Updated: Sep 14, 2019
“我的母亲Pamela Wiley在40年前创建了Wiley Center，这个组织服务于来自中低收入水平家庭背景的儿童的语音和语言发展。
‘戏剧大王 (Drama Kings and Queens)’ 是我们在14年前创办的、时长为6周的暑期项目，主要目的是通过音乐戏剧表演去提升自闭症儿童的语言沟通、社交和表演能力。”
“My mother Pamela Wiley started Wiley Center 40 years ago. This is an organization serves kids with developmental delays.
'Drama Kings and Queens‘ is a 6-week summer program we started 14 years ago that aims to help kids develop their communication, social, and acting skills through musical acting. “
“今年我们这个暑期戏剧项目的演出主题叫做 ‘自闭症：长大成人 (ASD: Grown Up),’ 因为我们的孩子们在不断成长，很多不仅去了大学，并且还在参加职业培训。我为他们感到非常骄傲。”
“This year, our show is called ASD: Grown Up because our kids are growing up. We just had our 40 years anniversary, many of our kids not only have gone to college, but also started vocational training. I’m so proud of them.“
“But to make this show happen, it wasn’t easy. We had to prepare everything here today in only 48 hours.“
“为我们患自闭症的孩子们成功找到一个舞台去表演真的非常困难，因为我们总是不被放在第一位去考虑。很多场地给我的回复是 ‘我们这边要拍一个电影,’ 或者 ‘我们这边有另外一群孩子要用场地。’ ”
“It was hard to find a theater space for our kids with autism to perform. The reason why it’s so hard is that people always put it in back burner, ‘Well, we have a movie production,‘ or ‘We have another group of kids.’ ”
“Our kids deserve to have a theater space just like any other groups of children. Our kids deserve to shine right like the stars as they are.“
“今年我会不懈地工作，我会战斗到底，我要保证明年我们能够尽早通知家长表演的时间地点，而不是只能遗憾地说 ‘真的抱歉，我们现在还不能确定孩子们可以表演的日期。’ ”
“I’m gonna work tirelessly this year. I’m gonna fight and make sure next year we can notify parents early, we’re not gonna say ‘sorry we still don’t know the date for our show.‘ ”
“I’ve been doing choreography for many years. It’s different working with this group of kids with autism. You try to treat them as normal kids, give them a normal life, but you also always have to be aware that they are special.“
“这些孩子们非常努力。他们会想让你开心，他们想证明 ‘我不是一个问题’ 或者 ‘我不是一个负担。’
“These kids work really hard. They want to make you happy. They want to prove that ‘I’m not a problem,‘ or 'I’m not a burden.'
Yes, they can feel that.“
"But I saw them sing and dance, just like normal kids. I love these kids. "
"I haven’t seen the complete show before. I’m so excited about it. "
"I work here, for the Wiley Center. That’s how I got to know about this program and sent my son here. "
"We found out something was special about him when he was 2. He was clapping in the car seat. He can never be rear-facing, only front-facing. And the constant crying. He also tends to see around.
At age 2, there was a lot of talking about autism, so we started to do research. I compare him to my other son, but they were 14 years apart. But still I knew it wasn’t the same. "
"He started school 2 and a half years. He goes to a regular school with normal curriculum, but smaller size. This year he is mainstreaming, that means going to school in a normal-sized classroom setting with 25 or 30 kids, instead of just 10. At the beginning, a large crowd would scare him, and he would scream when people watch him. But he’s much better now. "
"I’ve done everything in my power, we send him here for this program, I work with him to get him along with other students.
He’s a normal kid. We don’t treat him differently than normal. We didn’t overprotect him. That did not happen. But we did everything in our power to help him grow. It’s worth it."
"He’s my only child. He actually doesn’t have autism; he has Down Syndrome.
We send him to school, take classes, work on personality, behavior, and we also do a lot of stuff outside of class.
It’s a commitment to his well being. We have a family, we all support him, and we are making a lot of progress."
我们从他一出生就开始做这一切了，现在就好像 ‘啊! 我终于能看见效果了。’ ”
"It’s just this year, things just got clicking. He started reading very well, doing math really well. It’s then I knew the consistency of being on the program worked.
We’ve been doing it since he was born, so now it’s like oh I can see the evidence."
"It’s interesting when we have events somewhere, there are always Chinese. Last November, there were four Chinese studying psychology told me 'We’d love to know more about your organization and everything cos in China, we still don’t have much culture of sharing, spreading, and helping each other with special needs.' "
“今年七月我刚在Wiley Center工作满一年。一开始我是志愿者，现在我是正式员工，工作的内容就是跟年龄很小很小的孩子们一起，在行为和功能性沟通能力 (behavior and functional communication) 上帮助他们。
"I just hit a year in July. I was a volunteer at first. Now I work with little little ones, helping them work on behaviors, functional communication, and some other stuff.
Many of my kids are non-verbal, and when first they come into a classroom setting all of a sudden, you have to teach them to look at the signs, teach them it’s time for certain things, like time to sit down."
"There was once a girl came in, she was just screaming and everything. But one month later, there was a day she goes, 'I (gesturing) want (gesturing).'
She was not necessary making true words but it took me off guard cos she was using three sign combos. I started to tear up. "
"It’s just these little things that make me feel that this job is crazy busy and fast-paced but it’s all worth it."
"Our kids did a great job today. The message we want to send out from our show is that people are more than just labels, and the word “autism” can’t limit our kids’ potential and talent."
Note: all the photos and stories are taken and collected during the event; the subjects of the photos are not necessarily matched with texts.