The Big Guy

Winning Over The Big Guy

A True Story

A few months after attending Lilli’s 3 A’s of Active learning training in Austin Texas, the Little Rooms we ordered finally arrived. I was excited about giving a homebound student an opportunity for learning as nothing much had been going on for her up to this point. This delightful three year old female was diagnosed as vision impaired with a degenerative disease, severe and profound cognitive disabilities, and other health impairments. Her life up till then had been at home with a full time nurse, with visits from ECI, OT, and PT.

My husband and I assembled a Little Room at home and loaded it onto the truck. I passed by my office, picked up a colleague who also came to the 3A’s training, gathered up my materials and we headed down the road anticipating the wonderful event that was about to take place. We chattered endlessly about the implications for having access to a Little Room would be for B…

Upon our arrival at the home the nurse looked very skeptical and commented it was a very large piece of equipment for such a small house. We went about the business of setting the Room up and hanging the materials. About five minutes passed and Dad arrived home from work. Through the door came a Texas State Trooper, hat, star, gun uniform and all, a really imposing presence. The small living room was crowded at best. He stared at us and Deb explained what I was doing crawling around the floor. He became really quiet and said “your not putting my baby in that box, are you?” (That was my initial reaction twenty years ago when a Little room was first introduced to me.) Deb explained more of the Little Room concepts to him and how it would work for B… He continued to stand at the end of the Little Room and stare at me. He watched every move I made.[ Meanwhile on the floor I am no longer assembling materials but fervently praying!] My hands were shaking and I am now asking the powers that be to please have the child respond to the Little Room somehow, anyhow! The room was ready, Dad was not. Finally we positioned B…on the resonance board and slid the Room over her. Then we waited for what seemed like a week to me, Deb later said it was no time at all.

B… started to explore the objects closest to her with her mouth, then she tried to reach up, all the while she looked and tried to manipulate, pull on the objects with her mouth, tried to relocate them, move them about, and we even think she might have smiled. Dad had tears in his eyes. He then disappeared and came running back with a video camera and a smile and videoed the whole thing! By this time I am now chanting to myself, Thank you Lilli, thank you Lilli! Each time I go back to visit B… has been doing and exploring more.

I had the same experience with the second Little Room which I set up in a classroom. Within ten minutes after the student was placed in the Room all the staff were true believers. I spent time sharing all I have learned on Active Learning with these enthusiastic ladies. We watched the videos, read the books and did our homework. We now have an Active Learning Classroom set on that campus and are constantly adding to it. We have ordered our first Hopsa Dress. We feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to be trained by Dr. Lilli Nielsen and will continue to use her methods with great results.

– Marth Vincent, Region VIII Education Service Center, Mt. Pleasant Texas