"A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart."
John Pratt cared deeply about the work of the Ivy street School. His passion for young people with special needs and the staff that supports their development was clear Thursday evening through the words of Ron Suskind.
The John Pratt Memorial Lecture featured the compelling story of this Pulitzer-winning journalist and bestselling author as he spoke at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge about his family's twenty-year journey raising and connecting to their autistic son.
John Pratt served as Associate Director of the Whitehead Institute for 25 years. He was also a member of the MAB Board of Directors and cared deeply about the work that MAB and Ivy Street School do to help young people with special needs develop the skills they need to transition into successful lives as adults.
Disney movies provided a transition pathway for the Suskind family. Through his son Owen's love of Disney movies, which is explored in detail in Suskind's book and film, Life, Animated, the family began to communicate with their son in movie dialogue.
Many of Owen's favorite characters happened to be sidekicks -- which he saw as pivotal to the narrative of any good hero tale.
The true role of a sidekick, Suskind explained, is to give of themselves to another, so that the hero may succeed - and in doing just that, the sidekick becomes their own form of hero.
The Suskinds' story has driven activism and research about the compensatory strengths of those with autism.
Suskind's company, Sidekicks, is also leading efforts to build a next generation of augmentative technologies to lift and support these communities.
The John Pratt Memorial Fund and Lecture is dedicated to facilitating the impact of research at companies such as Sidekicks on practices at the Ivy Street School in order to improve student outcomes.
To continue to support John Pratt and the Ivy Street School's vision, we were pleased to award two professional development awards to Ivy Street School staff last night.
Thanks to a generous donor, Linda Yee, a Reading Specialist at Ivy Street, and Carly Ramos,
Director of Nursing Services at Ivy Street School, will continue to further their education, which will have a direct impact on improving practices and student curriculum at Ivy Street School.
Can you help us with a gift to the John Pratt Memorial Fund? Your donation gives the students at Ivy Street School the "Sidekick" in their lives, their teachers, who will nurture the inner hero in each and every student.
With continued professional development, our staff have the tools they need to find that connection, the one thing that can reach the students where they live. You will make it possible for every student to be the hero in their own life story, leading full and independent lives.