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Joey Travolta's Summer Inclusion Film Camp - Saint Mary's College and Stockton

  Saint Mar'y Payment Options Film Camp News Slideshow 2008 Autism Awareness      


Current Film Camp Dates: July 1-12th, 2019

Summary Setting up the shot

The Joey Travolta summer film camp is designed to address social cognitive communication and interpersonal skills of individuals diagnosed with high functioning autism or asperger’s syndrome. The camp offers ASD campers the educational opportunity to learn the process of making a short film [while divided into three age groups ranging from 10-14, 15-19 and 20-22] under the guidance and instruction of Joey Travolta and his professional teaching and film crew, while working alongside their typically developing peers. Campers are taken through a step by step process of making a film learning the following skills: pre/post production, acting, directing, editing, technical support, and camera filming. Finally, campers will develop their own “group” short film, while following the standards used in the professional filmmaking industry. This is truly a unique opportunity for campers to learn socially and experientially, while developing actual skills used in filmmaking

Behind th Camera Program Design

Individuals with special needs often learn best through in vivo instruction. This means, teaching skills and concepts in the context of real life activities and in actual settings. This type of instruction provides a concrete “meaning,” and demonstrates the way skills and concepts are used in specific and general settings. In addition to providing a functional structure when learning the technical skills involved with making a short film, equipment use, professional terminology, as well as basic social-cognitive interactions are addressed during this film camp. For example; individuals who are on the Autism Spectrum often experience deficits in expressive communication, social skill interaction, problem solving, organizing time/material/ideas, perspective-taking, and overall comprehension. These are all areas that will be monitored and functionally addressed on a daily basis within the context of the film camp.


Exposing individuals to the technology and creative processes involved in filmmaking will not only increase their technical knowledge, but will also increase their ability to work collaboratively with others. This is a valuable skill which can be applied to other aspects of their lives, in addition to enhancing their employment opportunities.

Finally, by participating in a project that produces a tangible product provides significant emotional growth for individuals with special needs. It is imperative that individuals with special needs be afforded the opportunity [equal to their peers] to explore their creative abilities and feel successful.

Components of Program Design Morning Warm Ups

1) Project Based: The film camp uses a project based approach, resulting in an actual short film for each consumer. This process provides the valuable experience of "learning by doing." Experiential learning provides a concrete format, giving meaning to concepts and language skills. This manner of learning promotes generalization and maintenance of communication and social skills.

2) Rule/Process Based Approach: The equipment used and skills needed to complete the project are taught and exposed to consumers in a structured manner. The film camp follows a predictable routine and teaches the industry standard approach to filmmaking. The process is broken down into steps and taught sequentially. This is essential to individuals with communication/cognitive issues.


3) Individualization: While the camp follows a structured format, there is a fair amount of flexibility built in to address the individual needs of each consumer. Not only will each project be tailored to each consumer, activities and topics can be modified at any time to address specific needs or unanticipated situations. This provides the needed flexibility to focus on needs as they arise, or seize an instructional/social opportunity as it develops.

4) Use of Technology: The film camp employs actual equipment used in the film industry profession. This provides the opportunity to learn functional and technical skills using actual equipment, which is an essential component of today's vocational and leisure environment. While the primary focus of the film camp is to teach the technical skills to produce a short film, current technology also provides a framework and springboard for critical thinking, executive functioning, social-cognitive skills, and language-pragmatic skills.

    Girls on the Steps Video      
Proposed Area of Focus              

1) Social/Cognitive Skills

- Increasing ability to interact (initiate and respond) with others to gain information (question asking), give information (pertinent and useful), collaborate, and socialize (verbal and nonverbal pragmatic/ conversational skills) with peers.
- Increasing the understanding of others' ideas, and taking into account their perspectives.
- Increase the understanding of acceptable and appropriate group behaviors.
- Problem solve and negotiate with others to reach a consensus.
- Increase organizational skills (ideas, details versus main ideas.)
- Ability to accept others' ideas and constructive criticism

2) Language

- Increase vocabulary and film concepts.
- Use language to describe ideas and concepts to others.
- Recognize & understand other's language use to convey ideas and images.
- Improve the ability to describe, demonstrate, and "read" others' body language and facial expressions.

3) Behavior

- Improve self management of behaviors for positive inclusion and participation in daily group activities.
- Increase flexibility to new situations, environments, and people.

4) Social/Emotional

- Improve self-image.
- Improve independence and self-reliance.
- Improve self awareness.
- Promote group participation.

5) Vocational/Academic

- Expand the ability to explore possible vocational venues for future careers.
- Increase knowledge of technology and equipment used in the film industry.
- Improve knowledge of appropriate "work" behaviors and expectations.
- Improve writing, listening, and organizational skills.
- Enhance the ability to follow multi-step directions with varied components and changing variables.

Proposed Outcome  

One original short film created collaboratively by the campers under the instruction and guidance of Joey Travolta’s and his teachers/professionals camera crew.

Assessment Proceedures

Skills level, areas of need and progress include:

- Observation by professional: speech, behavioral or psychotherapist.
- Indivulally screening/assessment
- Parental report
- Completion of final short film project
- Project Review Evaluation