What Stanfield is Reading and Watching: Fall 2015 Edition

Just For Laughs

Today’s Just For Laughs post is a silly take on a common problem. Sometimes humor is the best way to get a message across. We hope this brings you a smile before all of the Halloween festivities begin!



What Stanfield is Pinning

We just updated a new board on Pinterest, and you can find it here! It’s filled with tons of some of the coolest wheelchair costumes we’ve ever seen. Whether you’ve already got your costume or not, you’ve got to check out these fun and creative costumes.

Find our other boards here:
Visit James Stanfield Company’s profile on Pinterest.


 10 Autism Special Interests Turned into Unique Halloween Costumes

We all have hobbies and interests and a preference for a certain routine. Kids on the autism spectrum may develop strong interests. While this is certainly not true of all individuals on the autism spectrum, some may develop deep, unique interests for a variety of positive reasons.

    • This focus may provide structure, order, and predictability

    • Special interest may provide a way to start conversations and feel more self-assured in social situations

    • These interests can bring happiness and relaxation

  • Learning about a particular subject or collecting items of interest brings a lot of enjoyment from learning

This awesome story comes to you from, who asked their Facebook community if they or a loved one on the autism spectrum had ever incorporated a unique interest into a costume. The results? Some of the most amazing and creative Halloween costumes we’ve ever seen!

We hope this list brings you a smile and maybe a last-minute costume idea! Enjoy!

1. Million Dollar Wedge from Wheel of Fortune

2. A Vintage Car

3. Santa Claus

4. A Deck with Stairs

5. Pizza

6. A Vaccum

7. A Car Wash

8. New Mexico

9. Steve Jobs

10. A Construction Barrel

All images sourced from TheMighty


Motivational Monday

We simply couldn’t agree more with today’s Motivational Monday post. We believe that learning with pleasure, and teaching with humor, is the one of the best ways to engage students!


The 15 Weirdest Things Kids Have Gotten While Trick-or-Treating

It’s almost one week away from Halloween! Are you getting ready for a night of passing out candy or trick-or-treating? When we think about trick-or-treating, we usually think about candy. But sometimes, you might get something a little unusual in your basket on Halloween night. Buzzfeed gathered a list of the “Ridiculously Weird Things Kids Actually Got While Trick-Or-Treating,” and it’s hilarious! And some of them actually are pretty cool… Read 15 of our favorite below:

1. “Potato salad in a plastic bag.” –Sarah716

2. “One year I got an actual cat. His name’s Levi and I still have him 17 years later.” –hannahb4

3. “A baby turtle and a can of orange soda.” –jocelyng4

4. “I got a small plank of wood. Literally. A plank.” –kkrocks23

5. “A Christmas crossword puzzle.” –jamieisbananas

6. “A deflated balloon that said ‘Over The Hill.’” –Ashleyholiday13

7. “A packet of McDonald’s croutons.” –whitneymazeg

8. “One house gave out pizza slices, but also made you put your name in a raffle to win a huge model airplane.” –kater45

9. “A walnut… with ‘Happy Halloween’ written on the shell.” –michaelt44

10. “An Avon lady would always give out guest soaps shaped like animals.” –Matt Michaud

11. “Live goldfish — not even in plastic bags. They just panicked and dumped fish into our bags.” –Providenje

12. “Bouillon cubes. The stuff you use to make broth.” –Eliot Alen Walnut

13. “One woman gave out small potted plants. I named mine Jared.” –Kyrie Hinkle

14. “A hair dryer.” –louanna16

15. “A package of hot dogs.” –Katy Lynn Paterson

Image source: The New Yorker



Sesame Street Has a New Character. And She’s Awesome.

Meet Julia. The the newest character on Sesame Street Workshop.  Julia is on the autism spectrum. In partnership with Autism Speaks, Sesame Street has introduced Julia, as well as a new site

Why? In order to “de-stigmatize the disorder and provide resources to families, teachers, and caregivers around the country to educate them about autism.” Julia was created to provide children on the autism spectrum a character they can relate to, all while playing with Elmo and other friends.

Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s Executive Vice President of Global Impact and Philanthropy says, “This project is an extension of the belief we’ve always promoted: ‘We are all different, but all the same.’  I am passionate about this initiative, and am so proud of the partnerships with the autism community that have led to this.”

We think that Julia is a wonderful addition to the Sesame Workshop characters. Creating greater awareness and acceptance for individuals with special needs is not just beneficial for them—it helps us all move towards a more compassionate and accepting future.

Read more about Julia and Sesame Workshop’s initiatives here.


Motivational Monday

Today, enjoy this Dalai Lama quote about the importance of listening. Take time to listen to others and learn more than you could ever imagine!



Entrepreneurial Spirit: Teen With Down Syndrome Owns Sewing Business

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month, and to celebrate, we’d like to share this story of Jasmine Prince, a 19-year-old with Down syndrome who, with the help of her mother Laura Prince, owns a sewing business in Encinitas, California.

When Laura first brought Jasmine along to classes at her sewing center, she noticed that her daughter showed a natural talent for sewing.

“Like most parents of adults with disabilities, Laura said she has worried for years about her daughter’s future once she finished school. So rather than wait, she decided to create opportunities for Jasmine and her fellow students with special needs in the San Marcos Unified School District’s adult transition program.”

Developing the transition skills to shift from school to work is difficult for most high school students—especially for those with developmental disabilities or on the autism spectrum. The goal of transition programs is to create life management skills in special needs students so they can be their own advocates.

Launched last week, Jasmine’s Bunting Co. gives Jasmine and her peers with developmental disabilities a place to build the confidence needed to reach independence. “It’s a really fun place for them to work. It’s building their self-esteem, and they’re learning a skill that they can use on the job or at home in their daily lives,” says Angela Castro, a district education specialist.

At James Stanfield, we want all students to have the opportunity to develop the core social skills and transitional skills needed for work success. Find out about our Transitions Curriculum to prepare your students to meet the demands of adult life, including workplace success.

To read the full article about Jasmine, click here. Source: Disability Scoop


Emotions Just Got Even More Complex: New Study

A New Way to Look at Emotions in Special Needs Kids and Teens, Kids with Autism, and More
The first day of school, a job interview, a first date….
Do you get that feeling in your stomach, but you cannot tell whether it’s fear or excitement or anxiety or anticipation? A new study from Lisa Feldman Barrett, who directs the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory at Northeastern University, says it’s probably all four.

“Emotions, even the basic ones like fear, anger, sadness, happiness and disgust,” according to Barrett, “are not distinct entities inside us.”

This means that our emotions, as well as our thoughts, can manifest differently during different situations. In other words, we should look at the context that has caused a certain emotion—instead of questioning which emotion we’re feeling, question why. What we call fear in one setting might be completely different from what we would call fear in another, and, similarly, there are no “stable non-brain bodily markers of emotion.”

While studying emotions seems abstract, Ms. Barret makes an interesting point about how we see emotions in others. Sadness, anger, jealousy, compassion, happiness, and all the emotions in between can manifest themselves differently from one individual to the next, therefore simply looking for facial and body movements as “reliable indicators of innermost feelings” is a narrow approach to understanding emotion that neglects a rich variety of expression. Understanding emotions is especially important when we are teaching and parenting those with special needs. Find out more here: “A New Way to Look at Emotions



Motivational Monday!

Today Chester shares these wise words. Don’t pay attention to what time it is—just keep going!

Motivational Monday Inspirational Quote



Stop Licking the Door… and 15 Things You Never Thought You’d Say as a Teacher

Funny Things Teachers Have Had to Say to Their Students

Whether you’re a teacher or parent, there’s no doubt you’ve heard kids say some outrageous things. But have you ever stopped to think about the weird phrases you’ve had to say to them? At the time, it makes perfect sense—but when you think about it later, it’s just ridiculous. Here’s a hilarious list of things real teachers have said to their students in the classroom.

1. Please don’t use my Promethean board pin to clean out your belly button. (Connie B.)

2. The banana is not a weapon. (Deborah T.)

3. Don’t put that worm in your pocket. (Melissa B.)

4. Take the marshmallows out of your socks. (Lori M.)

5. Please stop screaming with your mouth closed. I can tell it’s you. (Midori M.)

6. No, I don’t want to smell your finger. (Connie B.)

7. His mama didn’t name him Butternuts, so you don’t get to call him Butternuts. (Catrice M.)

8. Please don’t bring a pineapple into the computer lab. (Sarah B.)

9. Stop licking my shoe. (Georgia O.)

10. Please quit drinking from the guinea pig’s water bottle. (Beth K.)

11. Take the pickles off your eyes. (Rachel R.)

12. Stop punching the celery. (Suzi R.)

13. Please stop stapling your shoes. (Rhonda C.)

14. We don’t keep dead animals in our locker. It’s not sanitary. (Janell D.)

15. You are a human boy, not a chipmunk. (Debbie A.)

Adapted from The Teacher Next Door



How the Power of Humor Can Radically Change the News

The Onion: The Power of Humor to Heal and Inform

It’s no news, that at Stanfield we strongly believe in the power of humor. We founded our company with the goal of teaching with humor and have continued to do so for the past 40 years.

It’s also no news that we are (possibly) The Onion’s #1 fan. Here is in an incredible example of the power of humor: The Onion, a satirical news site, sends a powerful message by publishing the same news story each time our country experiences a tragedy of gun violence. Known for holding up a mirror to the United States, The Onion has used the same article template the past three times a mass shooting has occurred, like the most recent one at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College. They simply ‘fill in the blanks’ with information specific to each shooting, and with that, The Onion has succeeded in one area where most of the “mainstream media” has failed: being starkly honest about the mass shootings in America.

As Dave Cullen, a journalist who has covered mass shootings for years said, “I think what [the Onion article’s popularity] says is we look for the people who tell us the truth — kind of the emperor’s new clothes — who see through the stuff, and don’t just print the same old stuff, or do the same old stuff, or do the safe stuff…”

To read The Onion’s coverage of the recent shooting in Oregon, click here.

The following article comes from NPR’s “#MemeOfTheWeek”:

#MemeOfTheWeek: That Article From The Onion About Mass Shootings

You might have seen the article by now: ” ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.” The Onion, a satirical news site that runs fake news stories, has published a story with that headline three times over the last year and a half: this week after a shooter killed nine people at an Oregon community college; in June of this year after a violent rampage in a black Charleston church that also killed nine people; and last May, after a shooting at the University of California Santa Barbara that killed seven.

The facts and dates surrounding the particular shooting change each time the story is republished, but key lines remain:

  • …citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded… that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place.
  • “This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said _______ resident ________, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations.
  • At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past five years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

The article’s been shared thousands of times on social media, and some on Twitter have taken notice of the piece’s repackaging:

The Onion, in its satire, has done something most of the “mainstream media” has refused to do: say how they really feel about mass shootings in America, said Dave Cullen, a journalist who has covered mass shootings for years and wrote the New York Times bestseller Columbine. “I think what [the Onion article’s popularity] says is we look for the people who tell us the truth — kind of the emperor’s new clothes — who see through the stuff, and don’t just print the same old stuff, or do the same old stuff, or do the safe stuff — the people who call us on our s – – -.”

Cullen agreed that The Onion article is #MemeOfTheWeek-worthy, explaining, “The Onion completely nails it. That [the article] resonates because they totally got it.”

Cullen said another type of news satire has been doing the same thing — saying what journalists are afraid to say — for years. “I think it’s the same reason that a lot of the media, about 10 years ago, were shocked and kind of disgusted and horrified that a lot of young people were getting their daily news from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

Not all of The Onion’s satirical coverage of mass shootings in America have gone over as well. After a shooting that killed 12 at Washington Navy Yard in 2013, the website published a story with the headline: “Location of Newest Mass Shooting Revealed. It’s A Navy Yard, Authorities Confirm.” One person tweeted, “This isn’t funny.” Another called it “gross stupidity.”

Of course, sometimes, there’s no satire to praise or ridicule at all. Some tragedies leave even the satirists are at a loss for words. After the Charleston church massacre, Jon Stewart, instead of delivering a biting, satirical monologue on The Daily Show, started his comments after the shooting with the words, “I’ve got nothing.” And The Onion, after the Sandy Hook massacre, wrote an article with the headline, “F – – – Everything, Nation Reports.”


Motivational Monday

Today, Chester shares these wise words from Babe Ruth. Don’t give up, because every failure brings you closer to the next success!

Motivational Monday Don't Give Up Because Every Failure Brings You Closer to Success



At Stanfield, we have always loved The Onion’s mock stories. Their faux-headlines, witty quips, and irreverent claims like Study: Technology Making It Easier For Mankind To Get More Annoyed Than Ever, keep us laughing and coming back for more.
More often than not, their brilliant humor touches on real social issues, and plays on common concerns, like the state of education in the United States. For example:

“In a radical departure from the norm, Paulson explained, teachers at the school have been carefully trained in the subjects they teach. Reports confirmed that these specialized educators are also required to prepare ahead of time and create lesson plans for their classes, with the chief objective being to ensure students gain at least a passing familiarity with a particular area of study, such as algebra, history, biology, or English composition.”

Today, on Just For Laughs, we feature a recent article from The Onion. Enjoy!

New Magnet School Opens For Students With Interest In Receiving Competent Education

PHILADELPHIA—Saying it would give local youths a wider range of academic options, Philadelphia public school officials expressed high hopes Thursday for the recently opened Edison Magnet School, a new pilot initiative that caters to students who are interested in an adequate education.

Though still in its earliest experimental stages, the specialized high school has reportedly attracted students from across the city who share a desire to receive the kind of competent instruction in math, reading, and science unavailable in more traditional American classrooms.

Just For Laughs, Teach with Humor, Students in Classroom Setting

“A few years ago, we started to realize that many young people in our district really wanted to become proficient in core academic subjects, so we decided to develop a school that places a strong emphasis on learning,” said Denise Paulson, Edison’s principal. “While our approach may not be for every student, we feel obligated to provide this alternative to those kids who wish to acquire basic factual knowledge before they graduate.

“We’re offering them a unique opportunity, something they won’t find anywhere else,” she added.

In a radical departure from the norm, Paulson explained, teachers at the school have been carefully trained in the subjects they teach. Reports confirmed that these specialized educators are also required to prepare ahead of time and create lesson plans for their classes, with the chief objective being to ensure students gain at least a passing familiarity with a particular area of study, such as algebra, history, biology, or English composition.

According to district administrators, any student who aspires to read at grade level or possess a rudimentary facility with numbers can apply to the new competency-track program offered at Edison.

“I know it’s only been a week, but their method seems to be working—my daughter Lisa has already learned several new things,” said Edison parent Jeremy Lancaster, who noted that his daughter’s previous school didn’t even offer a single course for students interested in acquiring knowledge. “The philosophy at Edison is to teach students something new every day. There aren’t many schools like that around the country, so we’re very grateful.”

“Lisa has always showed an interest in knowing things, so her mother and I feel Edison’s focus on academics makes it a good match for her,” Lancaster added.

In alignment with the school’s unorthodox mission to ensure its graduates are reasonably well equipped to head out into the world, even the layout of the building and the provision of learning materials reflect what administrators are calling Edison’s “scholastic approach” to education. Officials confirmed the well-lit classrooms have been made large enough to tolerably accommodate the number of students assigned to the class, and in stark contrast to prevailing trends, each pupil is given his or her own relatively up-to-date textbook.

Several students told reporters they appreciate the new school’s highly original methodology, but conceded it may take a while to grow accustomed to the process of learning information and developing skills in a classroom setting.

“I’m used to regular-style classes, so it’s definitely been a big change to come here and have these coherently explained lessons day after day,” Edison sophomore Carly Gutierrez said. “It was kind of shocking that first day when I realized my teachers actually seemed to have a halfway decent handle on what they were talking about.”

“It’s just completely different from any other school I’ve ever been to before,” Gutierrez added.

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At James Stanfield, We Think You Should Know:

While this article from The Onion is hilarious, at Stanfield, we strive for more than just a “competent education.” That’s why create curriculums that provide social skills training to give your students the confidence they need to make a successful transition from school to work and adulthood. Our Transitions Curriculum, as well as our LifeSmart Curriculum, is comprehensive and covers all of the tools students will need to reach independence and build long-lasting relationships.

Source: The Onion



“Nice Kids Finish First” — The Key to Social Success

Nice Kids Finish First and Develop Social Skills and Job Skills at a Young Age

Want your kids and students to be successful in life? Teach them to be nice! A new study finds that kids who demonstrate good social skills when they’re young—listening, sharing, being friendly—are more likely to stay out of trouble in the future. NPR’s Audie Cornish sat down with social science correspondent, Shankar Vedantam to talk about these findings.

Vedantam, an expert on social learning says, “Getting along with others, working cooperatively – these are skills that are useful throughout life, certainly in any workplace. ”

This is an example of the increasing evidence of the importance of social skills and emotional skills as a predictor of future success. For over 40 years, Stanfield has emphasized the importance of teaching social skills to all students.

We know that for special education kids and students on the autism spectrum, future success usually means reaching a level of independence, finding and keeping a job, or improving social behaviors and social boundaries knowledge. However, transitioning from school to work and being prepared for the workforce is difficult for most high school students—especially for those with developmental disabilities or on the autism spectrum. That is why it’s crucial for all students to have the opportunity to develop the core social skills and transitional skills needed for work success. This article shows us the importance of teaching social skills from an early age. Click here to read the full article or listen to the story on NPR!


The Stanfield Way

The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.

Dr. James Stanfield, Ed.D.

Stanfield Special Education Curriculum

VideoModeling® Programs

VideoModeling® is a ground-breaking teaching concept originated by the James Stanfield Company that’s used in thousands of public and private schools across America and Canada for special education needs.

Read More
Journaling, mediation, and intentional talk aren’t just for adults. 5 ways we can facilitate healthy management of mental health in our children.

James Stanfield Co.

My students were glued to the screen. Love Stanfield’s humor. This is the way to teach social skills.

Susan Simon, Principal

Using Humor to Teach Social Skills

Humor = Retention

We believe you learn best when you laugh. By making the classroom experience more comfortable and enjoyable, humor can make teaching and learning more effective, especially for the K12 segment. At Stanfield, we use humor as an integral part of our curricula.

If you as a speaker don’t help your audience to remember your lessons, then you’re wasting everyone’s time. Humor… can help accomplish that needed retention…

Gean Perret, Screenwriter
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