In 2009 a friend suggested I might look into College of Adaptive Arts, she thought it would be an ideal environment for David. My now 34 year old son David loves to dance and definitely loves an audience. College of Adaptive Arts - listed as a conservatory of Arts for adults with differing abilities - a mouthful for sure, but it peeked my curiosity and decided to look further into it.
What I found was 2 very enthusiastic and dedicated ladies, acting on a dream and following their hearts. DeAnna Pursai and Pamela Lindsay, the co-founders of College of Adaptive Arts; talk about enthusiasm, these ladies were loaded with contagious energy and ideas. We signed up David to begin in the following (and second) semester of the school.
The small group of approximately 12 students in first semester had grown to about 20 students in the second semester, participated in weekly classes. It didn't take long for them to begin performing out in the community - at Senior Centers, other programs, at Barnes & Nobles, Great America, at Christmas in the park (to this day, one of the student's all time favorite). It seems every semester there are more students joining and more classes being added.
More than once I've been asked what is it about this program that keeps me there and how does it differ from other existing programs? One thing for sure, this is a program where the participants do NOT "have to" be there, instead they "want to" be there. I think about my son and how his self-confidence has increased (my husband says David "struts") since he joined CAA. I look at all the other students and am so impressed at what they are capable of and CAN do.
From an autistic student who normally is like a butterfly - in constant motion - yet, very able to stay in place and go through a whole performance routine with no issues. To the student who during the first class sat with his back to the class covering his face, who now doesn't hesitate one bit to get on stage and put his whole self into a performance routine....