CONNECTED TO OTHER PEOPLE

CONNECTED TO OTHER PEOPLE

CONNECTED TO OTHER PEOPLE

 

I had to write about this picture today. Two things I need you to know about me: 1. I studied Autism Intervention at Montclair State University 2. I am an Autism Intervention Specialist and Teaching Artist with Making Books Sing (www.makingbookssing.org). I did a residency at a wonderful school in Queens where I shared music with kids with special needs. I also work with this great autism center called Emerge and See (emergeandsee.net). This students name is B. He once confronted me in the hallway and said, “Hey Mr. Matt” and he offered to give me a high five. That was one of the coolest things that has ever happened in my life. I looked forward to those kinds of experiences.

My main objective is to see the kids laugh and have a good time. I’m an architect of really funny experiences. That’s my job. That’s my passion. When I was a kid, I used to have really low self-esteem. All the bad memories (cough sixth grade cough) stand out like a sore thumb. But what helped me get through those periods of isolation, loneliness and sadness were my friends, performing in the musicals (I played Tevye in our 8th Grade production of Fiddler on the Roof which was amazing), wrestling (which was a fantastic outlet for me in Middle School- and the first time I was ever nearly-good at a sport) and having great experiences with my family. I think when I see kids having a great time it takes me back to that time when I was a kid going to the Jersey Shore. Specifically, going to the arcade. And how fun it was walking up the skee-ball ramp and dropping the ball in the 100 points hole. But this was also a time when I would see gigantic things like the ferris wheel at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, NJ, going to sleep away camp and meeting new kids who weren’t like the kids in my regular school – kids who came from different areas like NY, Connecticut and Pennsylvania and had different agendas – knew about different stuff than I did. Socialized differently. It’s nice to not feel isolated from other people. It’s really great to feel connected to other people.