Social Creativity is an innovative educational framework and philosophy of education that is at the center of everything we do at Greenleaf Neurodiversity Community Center (Greenleaf NCC). With growing social acceptance of neurodiversity within society, the sometimes unconventional social styles of many individuals with autism are increasingly understood as nuanced and socially “creative”, rather than necessarily reflecting an inability for sociality.
“Social creativity” as a concept refers both to the atypical yet valid ways in which neurodivergent individuals may relate and connect to others, as well as to the evidence-based creative and arts-based instructional approaches which engage participants effectively in lifelong learning and bring us together meaningfully in community.
Social Creativity began as a recreational series of arts-based classes and social outings for neurodivergent young adults, utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates art, drama, creative writing, music, and digital media to foster self-expression, social and relationship skills, independent-living skills, and a sense of community belonging. With the launch of Greenleaf NCC in Fall 2019, Social Creativity has become the foundation for our approach to all educational, vocational, and recreational programs.
Social Creativity synthesizes principles and practices from three powerful, evidence-based educational frameworks:
Creative youth development, which emphasizes youth voice, experiential learning experiences in the arts, real-world project applications, and safe/supportive learning environments;
Social-emotional learning, which focuses on self- and social- awareness and management skills through modeling, coaching, and opportunities for practice
Contemplative education, which emphasizes mindfulness, awareness, and compassion practices to promote wellbeing, presence, reflection, personal meaning-making, and connection to nature and one another.
As an instructional approach, Social Creativity strives to provide a positive and collaborative learning environment where every community member has something to offer and something to gain. Social Creativity recognizes and respects that all individuals, regardless of the level of support needed, should be able to live a life filled with purpose, dignity, agency, and joy. To live these values means consistently focusing on the strengths of individuals, providing a brain-based approach to learning and a relationship-approach to behavior, and delivering programs with attention to individual needs, differentiated instruction, and sensory-friendly environments.
To learn more about Social Creativity recreational programs, CLICK HERE or contact us for more information at: email@example.com.
To get a better sense of our recreational clubs, please check out some of the links below and read what participants and parents are saying.
PAST CLUB ACTIVITIES
VISUAL ARTS CLUB: Participants in his weekly program explored themes of psychological wellness, joy, and friendship through multiple artistic projects, ranging from sculpture to comics to mixed-media painting. Check out their virtual public gallery exhibition!
PERFORMING ARTS CLUB: Participants in this weekly program explored themes of emotional expression, storytelling, character development, and improvisation through music, acting, writing, and filmmaking, culminating in three hilarious comedic shorts. Click here (and use passcode: 3) to see the films made online due to COVID-19.
PEER MENTOR TRAINING PROGRAM: A select group of participants met bi-weekly to learn best practices for supporting autistic peers, as well as about other topics like safety, nonviolent communication, the creative process, mindfulness, and self/advocacy. The first graduating cohort are now charter members of a Greenleaf NCC Self-Advocate Advisory Committee, where they practice leadership by weighing in on the direction of future Greenleaf NCC programs and events. Check out the powerful brochure they created to share insights with neurotypical people on how to best be an ally to autistic people.
STORYTELLERS CLUB: Participants in this weekly program explored oral storytelling, creative writing, podcasts, and did a book club together. Check out the poetry and other creative writings of this ensemble in our original podcast, "Stories for your Ears".
Mitchell Bowman, MAEd, CAS (he/him)
Director, Greenleaf NCC Social Creativity
Easterseals Central Texas
Corporate Office Address: 2324 Ridgepoint Drive, Suite F-1, Austin TX 78754
Greenleaf NCC Location: 911 W. Anderson Rd., Suite 203, Austin, TX 78757