Tag Archives: Autism

Soul Center Mini

Big Hearts at Soul Center Mini

As construction continues on the future site of the Farber Soul Center, a new  temporary location has been opened to provide opportunities for young adults with special needs.

The “Soul Center Mini”, provides an exciting preview for the future. Only a fraction of the size of what the completed Farber Soul Center will be, every inch of the space is utilized for artful purpose. From weaving to printmaking, painting to graphic design, there is truly something for every artist to showcase their talent.

Upon entering Soul Center Mini, one cannot help but feel its impact. Entry walls display beautiful artwork, setting the stage for the potential and possibility beyond them. Instructors Carolyn Morris and Brian Kavanaugh have designed a space that provides opportunity and encourages collaboration. Carolyn, a gifted fiber artist, notes, “the way Brian’s arranged the space, the openness of it…it’s creating a sense of community. The people who are weaving are talking to the people who are making clay, inspiring joint projects and togetherness.”

carolynandrtisits

Instructor Carolyn Morris leads artists in a weaving lesson.

Not only are the young adults instructed in a variety of media and encouraged to venture outside their comfort zones, they are educated on the responsibilities of a workplace. “We will be teaching specific skills to strengthen a person’s overall experience and resume…the scenarios that go along with having a job such as recording ones arrival and departure time, and how to handle social situations inherent to a work environment”, says Brian.

Additionally, every aspect that goes into a finished piece of art is attended to; each step treated as a learning opportunity. Artists have a hand in tasks such as stretching their canvases, installing their work, and cataloguing each piece, just to name a few.

Carolyn&Devorah

Carolyn Morris and artist Devorah Newman weave a scarf.

Introducing Brian Kavanaugh

For Brian, his level of comfort working with special needs comes with experience. Graduating with a BFA, he went on to obtain a graduate degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He joins the Friendship Circle from Autism Services in Buffalo, New York where he worked in a similar center for the arts. As an artist himself, any chance to make a mark on the community in a tangible way made all the difference for him. He’s seeking to do the same for the individuals at the Soul Center.

BrianInstallation

Instructor Brian Kavanaugh hangs a tapestry woven at the Center.

Creating Works of Art Based on Personality

The level of enjoyment and quality of the work being created is directly correlated with the approach to instruction. Each artist’s background is carefully considered to determine where they might excel. For artist Saadia, the subject matter is much more important than the materials being used. Where as artist Aislinn’s interests lie in the process of a piece and the sensations of the material. Incorporation of these unique interests when working with the artists is what’s taking their abilities to the next level and always amounts to something beautiful.

Saadiacomposing

Artist Saadia Grossbard composes a collage.

Excellence at Work

Though the wonderful guidance being offered at the Center is undeniable, nothing compares to when an artist takes charge of their direction. When asked about the most rewarding aspect of the day, Brian replied, “the moment where they, the artists, start to contemplate what the next move should be instead of other people telling them what to do, when they make the next decision. It’s so empowering for them.”

Aislinncontemplating

Artist Aislinn Wendrow contemplates her painting.

The Soul Center Mini has only been up and running for a short time, but the participating artists are finding a voice there. Each masterpiece represents the individuality and spirit of its creator, the very essence of art itself. The Center is paving the way for the Friendship Circle to expand its mission into the lives of young adults with special needs and the heart of the mission can be found there too.

Participate in a Study and receive a $50 Gift Card

The University of Michigan is conducting a research project focusing on adolescents and adults with communication difficulties and/or Autism Spectrum Disorders. They are recruiting families of adolescents and adults (ages 15-30) who:

1) have language difficulties (e.g., ranging from no verbal speech to using single words or phrases/simple sentences) and do NOT have an autism spectrum disorder (this may include, but is not limited to, individuals with Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability).

OR 

2) who have an autism spectrum disorder (including those who do NOT have language difficulties).

For participants, they provide $50 gift cards and a written summary of the assessment results.

 

The Details:

Title: Development and refinement of diagnostic instruments for use with adults with ASD
Brief Title: Adapting diagnostic instruments for adults with ASD
Researchers at the University of Michigan and Weill Cornell Medical College are conducting a research project to adapt diagnostic observation measures to be more appropriate for use with older individuals with ASD.

We are currently recruiting participants who:

  • Are between 15 and 30 years of age
  • Have limited language skills (nonverbal to phrase speech)
  • Do NOT have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (participant may have other diagnoses such as Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, intellectual disability, etc.)

OR

  • Are between  15 and 30 years of age
  • Are verbally fluent (complex sentences) OR have limited language skills
  • Have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder
  1. All participants must also have a parent/caregiver who is able to provide information about the participant’s early development and is willing to participate.
  2. Individuals are not eligible for participation if they cannot complete the research measures due to sensory or motor impairment (e.g., blindness, deafness, severe cerebral palsy).
  3. Participants and parents/caregivers will receive $25 gift cards for participation (for a total of $50 per family). In addition, written summaries of assessment are provided.

For more information, please contact:
Vanessa Hus Bal
[email protected]
734.273.9883

This study has approval from the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board (IRBMED HUM00045004).