Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Fare Shakespeare to Work

Michele DeVinney

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 1, 2017

Heads Up! This article is 6 years old.

It’s easy to think of a major university parked in your own city as a great option as your kids get older. But the truth is that most colleges and universities – and that includes IPFW – have a lot of great programs for people of all ages and interests, and many have nothing to do with earning college credit or a degree.

There were a wide variety of music, art and performance camps at IPFW these last few months as kids took a break from school. But there continue to be a variety of ways for young people of pre-college age to connect, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts are often the good people who are making that possible.

There’s a new program being offered by IPFW’s Community Arts Academy which is aimed at young people, ages 10-18, with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The workshop, which runs Tuesdays, August 30-September 27 (from 5:30 p.m. until 6:45), will use William Shakespeare as a means of helping students improve their ability to communicate and express their emotions, providing coping skills through a course called “Shakespeare’s Island.”

Gloria Minnich, a performer and instructor at IPFW’s CAA and the new Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy, has received training in the Hunter Heartbeat Method at Ohio State. HHM was developed by Kelly Hunter whose website explains how Shakespeare can be useful in helping children with autism.

“Two major themes underpin the work: the rhythm of the iambic pentameter, which creates the sound of a heartbeat, within which the children feel safe to communicate. Second is an exploration of the mind’s eye, allowing children to explore imaginative worlds, which may otherwise be locked away. The work encompasses all levels of autism, including working with children who are non-verbal.”

Now part of a major research project at Ohio State, the Hunter Heartbeat Method is providing training for those who work with autistic students. Minnich and an assistant also trained in HMM will work with students in small group settings, and games based on The Tempest will provide the backdrop for the 75-minute sessions. A parent or caregiver must attend with each student.

The cost of the five-week workshop is $49, but scholarships are possible through AWS Foundation. For more information about those scholarships, contact AWS at 222-5005 or 877-799-5656. More information about this workshop, including a full brochure, can be found at, and registration is available by calling 481-6059. There is no online registration available for this workshop.

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