Thursday, March 19, 2015

Special Needs Drama Students Shine at Roosevelt

Now this is exactly what should be happening - a notable activity at a high school evolving to bring in more students. 

From the Times:

But these weren’t your typical drama kids. When one girl wanted to talk, she used her hands and a sign-language interpreter. Others didn’t speak at all. One girl walked slowly, her gait uneven because of cerebral palsy.

They are members of a new drama group at Roosevelt, open to special-education students and their typically performing peers. On Thursday, the group will give its first performance of a play, “Voices,” they helped create.

Called “unified drama,” the after-school club is based on a similar, successful sports program at Roosevelt and a similar drama class at nearby Nathan Hale High. It’s also part of a wider effort to include special-needs kids in more regular high-school classes, and regular extracurricular activities.

This group is open to all students.

One goal is simply making sure special-education kids have some of the same opportunities as any other student. But Thomas Ledcke, the Roosevelt special-education teacher who started the club this year, has bigger aspirations, too.

Drama, he said, can teach social and emotional skills that some special-needs students, especially those with autism, lack.

Playing new roles can help students face old anxieties. Memorizing lines can reinforce letter sounds dyslexic students often struggle to remember. Acting out a range of emotions in a variety of scenarios can help autistic students practice the social flexibility that their disability makes it so hard for them to grasp.

“There’s many ways of learning, ” Ledcke said. “That’s our job as teachers, to keep on looking for that key.”

Their first performance of "Voice" is tonight.


mirmac1 said...

Thanks for posting this Melissa. EVERY secondary school should have unified clubs and sports.

I'll be happy when including students with disabilities in all school activities is not news, but an every day thing.

I wonder to what extend downtown special education staff support and encourage what building staff are doing. I applaud building staff for their commitment to full inclusion.

Anonymous said...

Nathan Hale's group did a nice production of scenes from Alice in Wonderland.


Anonymous said...

In other news- Joe public said he will now come to complete stops at all stop signs.

PR Blitz

mirmac1 said...

Seems like a great opportunity to post this from an Ingraham parent:

This is a free event the Ingraham High School Sp-Ed Transition Program is providing to the parents community. Please feel free to join us (a flyer attached).


4/2 (Thursday), 6:30 PM

Ingraham High School Library
1819 N 135th Street
Seattle, WA 98133

Guest Speakers

Stacy Flower: Developmental Disabilities Association (DDA)

Francis Gathenya: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

Richard Wilson/Katherine Festa: School-to-Work

Denise Redinger: Attorney for Students with Special Needs

Cathy Murahasi: The Arc of King County Parent Educator

Reza Khastou: Seattle Vocational Institute

Barb Fiske: Shoreline Community College

Gina Solberg: Provail

Each guest speaker will have 8 minutes to speak. After the presentations, speakers will be available to answer individual questions.

Treats will be provided.
For more information, please contact Anne Anderson, Ingraham HS Transition Program Teacher, at 206-252-3989 or

Anonymous said...

This production was wonderful.
Student voices were powerful, funny and authentic.