We ALL have a deep longing for social connection.
Spectrum Improv (SI) classes are designed to provide a safe, supportive and joyful learning experience where both neurodiverse individuals (including those with autism who have good verbal skills, social communication disorder, social anxiety and/or ADHD) as well as neurotypical individuals age 18 and over can come together and connect socially. Parents, siblings, friends etc..are all encouraged to participate in the inevitable merriment that ensues in these classes.
Games will be selected, created and tailored to meet the specific needs of individual students. Although
participation in each game is encouraged, it is not mandatory. Games are played with multiple players or pairs and no students are ever singled out. The objective of SI is not to create stage performers but rather to use improvisational techniques and games as a therapeutic tool. Class participants experience social engagement and joyful connection with others while simultaneously understanding how the basic tenets of improv can help them to navigate the social world. Fundamental tenets of improv introduced in class are:
• Yes and - staying positive, exploring possibilities, being willing to step into an unknown, being encouraging to oneself and others, acceptance
• Staying in the Moment - listening, focusing, having flexibility, ability to step outside of oneself, entering a state of play
• Collaboration - helping others, using good communication, increasing awareness of others, problem solving
• Opportunity/No Mistakes - understanding how breakdowns can lead to stronger creations, no judgement, self-confidence
SI moves beyond standard therapeutic models of teaching social skills in a clinical setting either 1:1 or in a small group and instead offers participants a real, social activity in a larger group (class sizes may vary); rather than merely hypothesizing about being in a social situation with others, participants are in one. Additional review and discussion as a final part of the class is intended to help students carry over concepts covered in the class.
Reesa is a nationally certified and licensed Speech Language
Pathologist who has extensive experience over the past 20 years working with neurodiverse individuals and their families. Her fascination with humor dates back to her Occidental College days, when her undergraduate thesis was “The Effects of Humor on Education.” Since that time, she earned an M.A. in Education with an Emphasis on Communication Disorders. She has had over 5 years experience working at Michelle Winner’s Social Thinking clinic in San Jose as well as creating her own private practice The Santa Cruz Social Learning Center. In both settings she developed a deep understanding of the needs neurodiverse individuals have and began incorporating and adapting improv theater games into her activities for those with whom she worked. Reesa is currently a practicing Speech Language Pathologist at the San Andreas Regional Center, where, for the past decade she has had the honor of treating neurodiverse children and working intimately with their families. Additionally, Reesa has been a student of improv for over 15 years training at both “The Fun Institute” and “ComedySportz”. Her objective has never been to perform on stage but rather to impart the philosophy and joyful, creative play that improv inspires.
Reesa is also a devoted mother of two sons, an avid mountain biker, traveler and overall lover of life. She is thrilled to be the founder of SI and looks forward to promoting social connectedness between people.
My sons and I have thoroughly enjoyed the improv sessions we have had with Reesa over the years. She has a supportive, non-threatening way of leading the games, and this has allowed and encouraged both of my boys, who have very different personalities, to fully participate. It was a joy to watch each of them express themselves in this creative, playful, way with others. Reesa is well organized, kind and passionate about using improv to help people connect in a super fun way. I very highly recommend Reesa and Spectrum Improv. Say "Yes!" To Spectrum Improv.
-Alison Harre, LMFT, Mom, and Psychotherapist
My son and I have been working with Reesa for the last six months and we've really been enjoying it. She utilizes her experience with improv during our sessions. I think it is important to practice what you learn and improv is a great way to do that. We are able to role play many scenarios and practice situations that could come in life from simple things like going to the store to the more complex like talking to police. We have also been discussing more traditional speech topics like staying on topic and keeping some thoughts in your head instead of just saying everything. While utilizing improv games we can practice these topics. Reesa has been very helpful to us and I really think the way she uses improv for therapy and for fun is genius.
-Dr.Daniel Scaff MD, Father, and Pediatrician