And God Laughs
I told God my plans and He laughed. So now I am living, laughing, and loving according to His Plans.

Imagination: Try It On

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Barbara at TherExtras is having a Halloween Contest, and so while I have a tendency to lose contests I decided it would be fun just to enter. The contest involves writing about the benefits of dressing up for Halloween. I decided to keep it simple and not go into all of my textbooks from Child Development, but I could not resist my stockpile of photos to illustrate my points. :)

As a preschool special education teacher, one of the most beloved centers in my classroom was the "dramatic play" center. It was here with the pretend kitchen, ever rotating stock of supplies for theme play (a farmers market stand in November, a post office in February, a flower shop in May, etc.), and magical mystical dress up trunk that my little ones would be magnetically drawn.





We enjoyed the benefits of explorative dramatic play on a regular basis, in which children are allowed to make choices and explore different aspects of the world around them by taking on roles. They can take on the role of a superhero and conquor their fears, or that of the monster to make it less scary.



 

 

During imaginative play all things are possible, and there are no directions or instructions. The toys, the costumes, the props do not limit the range of the child's thinking but rather encourage thinking beyond the literal and into the world of the abstract and symbolic. Children have the opportunity to enter into play where they are in control, where they can take on the roles of the adults around them and "try them on".



 

 

Sometimes they even reflect society all too well, as with this little guy below who I believe was enrolled in the Britney Spears School of Parenting at the time.


 
 
Halloween is one specific day in which we encourage children of all ages to set aside the rules and to explore the possibilities of imagination, to explore different roles in the world and to think in abstract ways. It is a chance to try on the imagination and hopefully discover that it fits so well that it should be worn the entire year. For imagination is the key to wonder, to delight, to building abstract thinking, and to being able to discover a sense of self. Imagination does not discriminate based on ability or disability, age, gender, or method of communication and so on Halloween, and any days imagination blossoms, barriers fall between children with special needs and their peers as they all "speak" the same language of creativity.







So this Halloween, whether you choose to be a princess, a mermaid, a superhero, or a Purple People Eater, try on your new self for the evening and try on imagination. At the end of the night, when it is time to change into pajamas be sure to only take one of them off!
4 comments:

omydivineentity! If there were a photo sub-category in the contest, you would win that for sure, Bethany!

Your entry is superb for encouraging parents to offer costuming to their children - no matter the season. Thanks SO MUCH for your entry!

Barbara


Very nice Bethany... you are such a high achiever!


Bethany ... you have set the stage of life for these little ones. They are sure to have success from your dedication.


Job 8:21

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."



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Wild Olive

Wild Olive

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Creative Victory

This is Me

I am a thirty year old enigma who has defied every expectation ever placed upon me and refused every definition created for me. My greatest passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families. As a special education teacher I broke all of the unwritten rules to make sure that my kids received the services they needed and had a right to receive. I have never been so proud to be reprimanded before in my life. Now, due to unpredictable twists in life, I am learning first hand what life is like when you rely upon a wheelchair for mobility. I am a medical puzzle with the pieces slowly being identified and put together, and my medical bills alone could fund a small nation. It takes a village to keep me alive. :) However, I am not defined by the genetic misspellings. I am a teacher, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a dreamer, a reader, an amateur photographer, a writer, an advocate, a star gazer, a world changer. I am stubborn, situationally shy, quick to use humor and wit to make others laugh or cope with a situation, sarcastic, fiercely independent, giving, compassionate (sometimes to a fault), protective of those I love, defiant of arbitrary boundaries, perfectionistic, self conscious, self assured (yes you can be both!), articulate and occasionally dramatic. And that is just what I could fit in two sentences! :)

Who's On First, What's On Second, I Don't Know! (Third Base!!)*

Simple Vocabulary Definitions for those who may not speak fluent medical :)

Undiagnosed Progressive Neurological Disorder- This is the diagnosis that is believed to make everything else fit together. It explains my frequent infections, my muscle weakness and dystonia, my dysautonomia, my cardiac issues, my inability to regulate blood pressure, my dysphagia, my ataxia, my severe fatigue, my extreme nausea, my gastrointestinal dysmotility and IBS like syndrome, my unbelievable migraines, my sensory changes in my arms and legs, my vision issues, my hearing loss (so much for blaming medication), and so much more. Going back to infancy and childhood, this would explain the severe apnea, the significantly delayed motor skills, the reason why I could never keep up with my peers in physical activities, the neurogenic bladder, the malfunctioning thyroid, and my frequent illnesses and vomiting. This is the diagnosis now being used since the DNA testing for Mitochondrial Disease came back odd and I can not afford the expenses of a workup at the Mayo Clinic. We are treating symptomatically.

Pan-Dysautonomia- "Pan" means that it impacts many different systems of my body, "dysautonomia" is a failure of my autonomic nervous system or the part of my brain that does all of the automatic things that do not require conscious thought like telling your heart to beat, regulating your blood pressure, adjusting your body temperature, maintaining balance in space, digesting food, hunger and thirst, etc. It is believed that I have had this from birth based upon my history of symptoms, including severe life threatening apnea as an infant, but the cause remains elusive at this time

Dystonia- abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, including painful spasms, that primarily impacts my feet and lower legs and is now starting to be a problem in my back

Ataxia- difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating/executing movements

Dysphagia- difficulty swallowing due to any number of causes including muscle weakness and poor muscle coordination

Adipsia- the absence of a sense of thirst



Other Medical Issues- Lupus Anticoagulant (autoimmune disease that causes me to tend to form blood clots and has already caused two deep vein blood clots and one mild stroke), Migraines, unknown connective tissue disorder, abnormal gastric motility, allergies, history of v-tach and severe sinus tachycardia, changes to my echocardiagram that include leaking valves and a new murmur, low blood pressure, ataxia, untreated PFO (small hole in my heart that increases the risk of stroke), chronic lymphadema in my left arm, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Narcolepsy/Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolance (believed to be a result of the dysautonomia and my brain's inability to regulate the sleep/wake cycle), mild hearing loss, malformed optic nerves, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pernicious anemia, vitamin deficiencies


* Title comes from an old Abbot and Costello routine that I chose to memorize in 6th grade and absolutely love.
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