The Fantastic Ferrets are an amazing group of fifth graders that I was privileged enough to work with this year. Their enthusiasm, work ethic, and need to make the world a better place exhausted, overwhelmed and exhilarated me. When I thought the year was beginning to wind down, I couldn’t have been more wrong. They took on their biggest challenge ever.
Two of the Fantastic Ferrets have autism and they know about facing challenges, but after becoming friends they found ways to make facing these challenges easier. One day the two boys, Alex and Hayden, were sharing their strategies with me. They explained how talking to each other helped, because they understood what each other was going through. They said playing Minecraft helped, because it was a game they could play together, and it was a game that did not cause them to become frustrated. Hayden even shared how he had created a treehouse for Alex in Minecraft where Alex could go when he was feeling frustrated in real life. Alex shared with me that he had learned from his father that a lot of famous people had autism, so Alex started doing some research and he couldn’t believe what he found out!
What did I do, while these boys told me all of this? I sat dumbfounded. I thought this cannot stop with just these two boys. This is magic! These boys can make a difference and help other autistic children if only by sharing their attitude with them. The conversation with the boys took place right before lunch. During recess, I called the boys over. I asked them how they would feel about sharing what they know with others by starting a talk show. Hayden hesitated for a moment and said, “I’m not really good about getting my picture taken, but I might be able to do this video thing.” Even now, Hayden is a bit more shy about being on the show, and he doesn’t star in every episode, but that’s okay. It will always be the Alex and Hayden Show. Alex, on the other hand, is a natural behind the camera, as you will see. Anyway, the boys agreed to do the show and were very excited about it.
After recess, we talked to the whole class about the show. That was when it got really exciting. Suddenly, Alex and Hayden were stars. Everybody wanted a piece of them! “Can I be your manager?” “Can I be the producer?” “Can I do the video taping?” “Can I fix your hair” ….and on and on? And Hayden and Alex grinned and grinned!
That first afternoon the kids got to work right away creating a logo (which of course was a contest.) The class also brainstormed ideas for a format. Everything had to be approved by Alex and Hayden, and for the most part, most of the ideas came from Alex and Hayden. Alex decided he wanted a famous person who had autism to be featured on each show. Hayden wanted to give minecraft tips. They both wanted to include a class pet on each of the shows. With all their hard work, by the next day, the first episode of the Alex and Hayden Show was produced!
After the first episode, the Fantastic Ferrets were on a roll. Everyone wanted to be a part of the show. There was a research and development team, a design team, managers, and more. Kids were asking for promotions and they were willing to do anything to get them. The last word always came from Alex and Hayden, but they were always loyal to their friends who helped them from the beginning Keaton and Garrett, so every time someone got a promotion, they made sure Keaton and Garrett got one, too.
This next episode is the fourth episode and it is the first episode filmed in front of a live audience.
The Fantastic Ferrets took the Alex and Hayden Show on the road for Episode eight. Learn a little about Greenville history in this episode.
School’s out for the summer, but the Alex and Hayden show is still going strong. The last video I am going to post was filmed at Heinz field in Pittsburgh at an “Autism Speaks” walk. On July 5th the Fantastic Ferrets plan to meet at the Greenville Park for Heritage Days. We will be selling t-shirts and buttons and promoting the show and filming our next live show. I hope you enjoyed watching these videos and learning about these amazing kids. Please leave comments on their videos or on their blog to show your support. A prolific writer, Jaci, started up the blog since school has been out and she has been working diligently to get it up to date. Let her know how much you appreciate it.
Here are the inks:
The Alex and Hayden Show Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbW3J6xDlnsCsI2c6WHFaFA
The Alex and Hayden Show Blog: http://thealexandhaydentalkshow.blogspot.com/
The Fantastic Ferrets Website: http://jabernethy.com/