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Persevering For The Pool By Jack Shaw, President, Hawthorne Foundation Inc. Board of Directors You are probably aware of the adage that directs us to `Learn as if you going to live forever'. For better or worse we parents of developmentally disabled children are constantly learning. Diets, teaching methods, medications, assistive learning devices...we are regularly introduced, perhaps inundated is a more appropriate term, to the latest developments, fads, and breakthroughs. Each of these, of course, comes with its own vocabulary and it is incumbent on us as caregivers to be conversant in same. One area in which we have all expanded our vocabularies is that of symptoms. As the parent of an autistic son I am only too aware of the many symptoms that can present as a result of the disability. Fingers in the ears, hand flapping, toe walking, there are quite a few and I am sure each of you has a favorite but today I would like to speak briefly about perseveration. The dictionary defines perseveration as `the pathological, persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act, often associated with brain damage'. I find the definition somewhat academic so perhaps it might be better illustrated via an example I recently experienced. I was located on my usual perch at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. Andy came in and positioned himself at my shoulder. "Haircut?" says Andy. "You don't need a haircut, maybe next week", I reply. Undaunted, Andy repeats, "Haircut?" "Not today," I mutter. Fearing that I may not have heard him the first two times, Andy touches my shoulder. "Haircut?" he says. "Andrew, you don't need a haircut", I answer a few decibels louder. This conversation continues for another few minutes with Andy patiently asking "Haircut?" and I, with less and less patience responding until finally, "Haircut?" asks Andy. "Andrew, you do not need a haircut, we are not going for a haircut, and I do not want to talk about it anymore." A pause of a moment or two and then Andy replies, "Barber?" (It appears that Andy's parents are not the only ones who continue to learn.) And that, my friends, is perseveration. I focus on perseveration today because I suspect that I might be accused of it as I continue to pitch our new pool. We are presently at the blueprint stage. We envision a forty by sixty foot pool replacing the existing structure. It will slope from three feet to six feet of depth. The pool will be equipped with a ramp for our physically handicapped population. It will have a pool house with toilets, showers, and changing rooms, and the enclosed pool area will also sport showering mushrooms for the little ones. The price tag for construction, demolition, permitting, etc. is approximately $500,000. Currently, we have a shade over $200,000 on hand. We obviously still have some work to do and we have dedicated our fund raising for the balance of the year to the pool. We are holding a cocktail party in Manhattan on April 21 in the hope of raising some money but, more importantly, generating enthusiasm for a more substantial event that we hope to have in the fall. We need your help. Certainly, we can use any financial assistance you can offer. We understand, however, that not every family can make monetary gifts to the foundation. We need help generating donations for auctions. We need volunteers to help set up the fall event. We would love some corporate sponsors (I, for one, would have no problem calling it the Apple I-Pool if Apple would be willing to make a large gift.). If you have a gift for organizing or feel you can help in any way, please contact us. You can call Eileen Bisordi at (914) 592-8526 or call me (914) 967-8771. Thanks in advance for your assistance. Before I sign off I would like to reiterate that this project is not solely for the benefit of our school age population. Once the pool is rebuilt we anticipate opening the grounds to our families(school age, DayHab, and residential) on summer weekends and those weeks when school is closed. We have ten acres that could be a wonderful resource for all of our families; one where they can relax, renew acquaintances, and hopefully build some new relationships. Heaven knows we could all use a little extra support. That's it. I hope to see you all on the 21st. Until then, Have a Happy Passover, a Happy Easter, and a brilliant spring, should it ever arrive. God Bless You All, Jack Shaw