We talked with Joan Baird who serves as the coordinator for the Sonflower Adult Learning Program. The Sonflower Adult Learning Program is an enrichment program for adults with special needs. On Thursday, the program hosted its first Book Club.
Can you explain the new Thursday reading program for the Sonflower Adult Learners?
The Book Club is one of many enriching times we offer to our Learners in the Sonflower Adult Learning Program. The book club is brand new and our first one was today. Our idea is to encourage discussion and self-expression and to enrich and broaden their horizons. For most of our Learners their reading level averages about a third grade level. We tailor the book club by reading a book to them during that time and having a discussion about the book. We are focusing on listening and discussion skills and having fun. We might have a worksheet or a craft that goes along with the book. It will help them remember a story and sequencing. A lot of what our program is about is fellowship, community, and building self esteem.
What age group is this program targeted to?
The program is open for adults with special needs who have graduated from their public education. A lot of them have a time period between public education and state funded programs. We are an independent program and are able to offer a lot of things that state programs can’t offer such as a daily devotion. Part of our purpose in our program is to help them develop a deeper relationship with God and practice their faith.
Can you talk about the personalities in the program?
Our Learners are very accepting of everybody. They enjoy jokes and having fun. They will be your best friend. It is fun working with these individuals because they are loving, kind, awesome people.
What can volunteers be expected to do?
For this particular book club, it can be as much as they want to do. They can choose the book and develop discussion questions or the project that goes along with it such as a word search, drawing sheet or a craft. Or just read a book. It can be pretty flexible.
Can you talk about what the books will be about?
We are doing themes this summer like Snow Days in August. So our book theme today involved snow! In a couple weeks, we will have a fire safety theme and our book will be related to that theme.
How can a parent get their adult learner involved?
The Sonflower Adult Learning Program is an enrollment based program Monday through Friday,10 am to 3 pm. The minimum enrollment is one day per week which would be the same day every week. We have some Learners who come five days a week and some only one day. There is a tuition fee involved in the program. The parents usually visit the program and if they are interested, they can go through the enrollment process.
What are other frequently asked questions you receive from parents?
A lot of parents are interested in something for their adult child to be involved in. I hear quite often from parents they want something more for them then watching TV all day. Typically when a parent comes in they learn about the overall program, including about our devotions, our missions work, the Sonflower Bakery, art class, yoga, fitness training and music therapy. There is a lot of variety in our program. I think parents like hearing that because they want their adult child to be engaged and challenged.