Best Kept Secret (2013) Movie Script

[Piano playing
"This Little Light of Mine"]
Thank you for calling
John F. Kennedy,
best kept secret in
the Newark Public Schools.
How may I help you?
[Indistinct conversations]
have a look.
Hi, Quran, how are you?
Fine. How was your New Year?
Yeah? Good, I see you smiling.
You must have had a good year.
-Bianca, how you doing?
How was your New Year?
You slept a lot?
So did I.
I'm on this side,
let me get it.
Okay, thank you.
Pull, pull, pull!
So you don't have to walk back,
you can ride back.
You're welcome.
...One nation, under God,
with liberty and justice
for all.
Have a great day.
Happy New Year.
Good morning, JFK.
Let's hear it for JFK!
Welcome back
to 2011!
We made it another year,
isn't that great?
Robert, it's good to see you!
Say hi.
Good job,
that's good talking.
-Good morning.
-Good morning.
Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh! Relax.
-Happy New Year.
-Happy New Year.
Can I get a kiss?
Thank you.
I'm not a doctor.
I'm not trying to look
for a cure.
But if I could teach you how
to take care of yourself,
how to express yourself,
or just get some type
of language out of you,
where you could be able
to voice for yourself.
These are the things that we
really need to work with.
All right, high-ten!
You did that
by yourself, too.
Do you want something
for that?
I didn't understand that.
Do you want something for that?
-You have to say it louder.
If you don't speak louder,
nobody's going to ever
give you what you want.
So, do you want something?
-Okay, what do you want?
Oh, that was nice and loud.
Sure, you can have a cookie.
But that was beautiful.
You get a big cookie
for that, too.
Ra-ra, look at me!
Is this our friend?
Rahamid got a fear of plants
and we try to desensitize him.
Outside, he won't go
by the trees.
Okay, lesson's over. Okay.
Could you put this back for me?
Are you going to put it back?
-Ouch what?
Do you want to put it back
for me or no -- yes or no?
-You want me to do it?
-Okay, I'll do it.
-What is your name?
Very good.
My name is Janet.
My name is Erik.
-I live in Montclair.
-I live in Montclair.
-No. Ilive in Montclair.
I l...
Very good.
Up, up, up, up, up!
Come on!
Good. Up.
[Sand rattling]
I've been teaching
for over 20 years.
I had several kids
graduate before.
But this time it's different
because my entire class
is graduating.
[Sand rattling]
So, we're going to talk
about transition.
We're going to have a discussion
about what happens
with our students
once they leave here,
and particularly since
your entire class
is graduating.
One of the biggest problems
that we have
for our students
with autism is,
there's not a lot of resources
post-high school.
they have like a day
recreational program
where the kids just come
and do activities,
and then they have
a work program.
But it's not anything
that I would consider, you know,
a standard, traditional job.
Do they have
any live-in programs?
Oh, yeah, uh...
It's very private.
And you've got to pay.
And most of our kids
wouldn't be able to pay.
-Oh, it's private.
You know, when you
graduate school,
you're no longer a student,
they call you a "consumer."
So they allow the consumer
to guide and direct
what they want to do.
I'm saying "consumers"
'cause that's what they're
going to become.
I know, those consumers...
It's just...young adults?
They go from being students
to consumers.
Sounds like a product
instead of a person.
Well, you start talking about
these agencies,
we've got to use their language,
because that's the language
they use.
So what we'll do is
we'll set a schedule.
I have to call these places.
I want to definitely
get started in February,
because, you know...
Can we start and just let me
visit the places?
-You want to visit without them?
That way, when I talk to them,
I could suggest this
for this and that reason.
Without knowing or been there,
I don't even know what to say.
No, you can come.
And let's say, if we want to do
the first or the second week...
MINO: Rah, what are you supposed
to say if that's your coat?
-This is my coat.
-My coat.
MINO: You gonna let him
take your coat?
-My coat.
MINO: What are you gonna do?
MINO: Go get it!
-Whose coat is this?
Whose coat?
Huh? Whose coat is this?
Mr. D's coat?
-It's my coat.
-That's your coat?
MINO: Walk out the door with it.
-My coat.
MINO: That's right, get him!
MINO: Run! Say, "Mr. D!"
-My coat.
-This your coat?
MINO: He said, "Bye, everybody."
-Bye, everybody.
See you tomorrow.
MINO: Okay,
see you tomorrow, buddy.
What's up, man?
My man.
There you go.
MAN: 1...
MAN: 2...
MAN: Come on, 3...
MAN: Come on, 4...
MAN: Come on, 5...
Come on, 6.
Keep it close, come on.
Come on, 6...
Come on. 8.
Come on. 9.
-Good job.
My man, high-five.
Yes, sir, yes, sir.
First of all, I had to accept
that Quran didn't have
a problem, I had the problem.
You know what I'm saying?
Because see, I wanted him
to be a different
person than he is.
DORIS: Wanted him to be normal.
Wanted him to be "normal."
Right, you know what I'm saying?
So, now, once I
accepted him for him being
who he is --
you know what I'm saying? --
things just became easier.
We have a good foundation.
We've been through
a lot of things
and stuff like, you know,
and we go through it together.
It's just that, you know,
my objective is for Quran
to be able to, uh...
Not get lost.
You know, just sit in a room
and be isolated
from everybody.
You know?
And end up in an institution,
dealing with whatever.
BRADLEY: The state.
So, we have to be in
the best position
so that Quran can receive
the best quality of life
DORIS: Mm-hmm.
BRADLEY: Not what we ask him
to do.
-What does he like to do?
-What does he like to do?
BRADLEY: It's just that,
you know,
who can we depend on outside
of ourselves...
DORIS: Mm-hmm.
BRADLEY: What can we do to get
through this next level,
you know what I'm saying?
WOMAN: Robert was
being neglected
by my sister.
She couldn't...
She couldn't handle it.
Because of addiction.
He was living with my mother,
and my sister was there
with my mother, too,
but my sister had went
to jail.
And when she went to jail,
my mother could no longer care
for Robert.
And Robert was undernourished.
And he was really really in a
bad shape.
And Robert was undernourished.
And he was really really in a
bad shape.
And I went in and I took Robert.
Robert was weighing like
86 pounds when I got him.
He had a very, very peculiar
smell on him.
He was eating...
eating his flesh.
[Linda sniffles]
And now Robert no longer
eats his skin...
He eats his food.
And he weighs 125 pounds,
I believe now.
Yeah, and he's doing
My concern is
what's going to happen
after he gets out
of school.
You know, he just needs
some outlet
so he can and so he can be
the peoples that he can
relate to.
His case manager hasn't
called me once
and say, "We have a program
for Robert.
You know, go and see if you can
get him in there
or take these steps
to get in there."
And I gave up.
It's like
I'm not reaching out anymore.
I just stopped reaching out.
WOMAN: They don't call this
a foster home,
but they call it a, um...
therapeutic home.
If you don't have
a special need,
then you wouldn't be part of
the program that we're in.
MAN: How many kids
have been here? 10?
Out of all of the children
that we mentor,
he's really
the best of all.
He's a blessing to us.
Right, Erik?
Yes, Dad.
See, I can always get a "yes"
out of him, so that's good.
ALYCE: Yeah, when he first
came here,
he was very...
I guess, shy.
This is the first time he's
been in a program like this
because he came
from his mother's home.
So he was kind of shy.
He would not interact
much with us.
He would stay in his room
mostly, you know.
In the book, it said that
he was living with his mother
and brother.
And that his mother was ill
and unable to take care of him.
I think she was concerned
with her son
and wanted to make sure that he
was being taken care of
because she couldn't.
I commend her for that.
But he does have visits
with his mother once a week.
Which he enjoys.
He looks forward to that.
ALYCE: As far as him living
on his own,
I don't know.
During school,
he has job training.
Like they have a job cleaning
the church pews,
that kind of stuff.
Okay. When you finish that,
come back up, Robert.
Keep working, please.
Thank you.
Come on.
You can do it.
You touched it yesterday.
Come on.
You can do it.
You went through the other one.
Are you going
to walk through this?
Yay! Yay!
Very good!
You did it!
Very good, very good.
Now, look...
Look at Ms. Mino.
Very good.
Somebody has to hire you
after graduation.
If you lose your ticket,
what's happening?
You walk.
That was what
was holding him up,
but she's been in constant
contact with him.
This is Janet Mino.
She's a teacher at our school.
She was Tesean's teacher.
-Is he here?
-He's here.
-Yeah, he's upstairs.
Oh, I would love to see him.
You want to start downstairs?
-That's fine.
This way, please.
That's our
arts and crafts area.
Marlene, maybe you can...
We make this
with the consumers.
Wherever we sell,
we pay.
Okay, this way.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you, Marlene.
One more floor.
A computer room?
No, this is our production room.
Where we do subcontract work,
sorting cable wires
for Cable Vision.
WOMAN: Some of the people
are doing data
and some of them wires.
We just finished with the paint.
The paint is outside.
-And we also do
mulch work.
Okay, thanks.
Tesean, show them your world.
Tesean, give me a hug!
Stand up.
Give me a hug!
Yoga stand. Up.
Bring your feet up.
I told you he would
remember you.
At first he was like,
"What are you doing here?"
I remember you.
You do that nicely.
Thank you.
It's so good to see you.
It's good to see you.
It's good
to see you.
Talk. Good...
No, good...
No, pfft.
Good, good.
You better put that fist down.
So all day,
all he do is piecework?
He does piecework on...
Yeah, basically,
because it's a work-oriented
WOMAN: That's why Tesean's mom
wanted this program.
WOMAN: And we're constantly
looking for additional work.
Right. We don't like to sit and
do the same thing all the time.
I know the feeling.
MINO: There is so much more
in Tesean.
Tesean was verbal.
It's like...
factory work.
And that's what they do
in the works program.
I understand that.
Unless they have skills,
and you have to remember,
the work program is
a government program,
and the emphasis
is on working.
That's it.
Exactly, but, to me,
the children with autism,
we understand,
are special need children,
so we're going to give them
a work program
but we're also
going to give them...
We're going to mix that up
because we're going
to give them...
Oh, what word
am I looking for?
THOMPSON: Uh, their social
MINO: We've got to give them
a light.
-It's up to us...
-No, but...
To me --
this is just my...
I hear what you're saying.
It's up to us to find them
activities within
so they can have a full day,
so when they go home,
they had a full day
of different activities,
work where they got paid.
-That is not life after school.
-It could be.
I find my own
recreational activities.
Right, but these are
special need!
Then you're treating them as if
they're so different,
and that's not right,
I don't agree.
I don't agree with you, either,
'cause all you want to do
is make them little robots
working and then go home.
-That's what you're saying.
THOMPSON: That is a family and
an individual responsibility.
-But we know --
-And the place that you work
is not necessarily
going to provide that for you.
You know what, it's not going
to be drastically different
and they're not going
to lend themselves,
and that's why it's important
that when they are with us
and in the school system, that
we do that as much as possible.
MINO: We do, but with children
with autism,
if you stop doing it,
they're going to stop.
They're going to withdraw
within themself.
THOMPSON: They're only telling
you the reality of life.
MINO: No, that's your reality.
THOMPSON: As much as we'd like
it nice and sweet and fluffy,,
that's not real life
for anybody.
What's happening this month?
Black history.
Very good. Quran.
What are we celebrating?
Black history.
Black history.
And how we're going to do our
writing today is make a timeline
like we did
for Martin Luther King.
We're going to do one
for Oprah, too.
We're waiting for you, Robert.
Robert could read,
Robert could talk.
But then something happened.
I don't know what happened.
Everything he did,
he started to decline.
He just shut off totally.
Robert, I don't want to go
but you're having
a little trouble.
Okay, everybody catch up
to Erik.
I need a break.
I know you need a break.
You gotta get moving.
Stand up, move!
You're all tight, tight.
Loosen up!
Yeah, there you go!
Shake out your fingers.
Shake it out!
Shake out those fingers.
Shake 'em out!
There you go!
What are we learning
about today?
Oprah Winfrey!
Oprah Winfrey.
Very good, and who did we learn
about yesterday?
Very good! And then who did we
learn about Monday?
-Martin Luther King.
"Conversational partners
often elicit verbal language
by prompting Erik.
His ability to respond properly
is improving,"
and I've seen that
from last year.
"Erik has been able
to meet the goals,
answering simple WH questions,
although repetition of
the questions may be required
to minimize echolalic
Okay, so that's his overall
speech information.
Can you tell me some things
he's doing at home now?
Well, his goals this year
is to make his bed
with maybe one verbal prompt,
to make his bed every day.
We are visiting different sites
for after graduation.
I just know they have
so much in them,
and I just don't want them to go
to a place and be forgotten
and just go robotic,
you know what I mean?
WOMAN: Not like one of those
state programs, just come in
and sit till 5:00,
eat your lunch, go home.
None of the students,
the young adults,
in that type of place,
right, Erik?
Yes, Mino.
We've got to find a place
that fits you, right, Erik?
After graduation,
I see Erik working, as long as
he has a job coach.
-I'm good with that.
WOMAN: One thing I saw,
that his mother wanted
that they might be together?
Do you have any information
on that?
No one has told me anything.
For a while, he wasn't seeing
his mother 'cause she was sick.
Really ill, and she didn't
want him
to see her in that condition,
but she's improved
and now they're starting
to let him visit again.
But I don't know what
the future is.
They don't tell me.
Yeah, come over here.
Stop going for the food first.
How you been?
Let me see your mustache?
Ooh, you got a thick mustache
this time.
What do you do for the dang
camera besides coloring?
I color.
You want to color
or do a picture?
You do that.
He was taken while I was
in the hospital
and that was 2006,
when I had my first surgery
on my foot.
He was at the apartment with
my mother and his older brother.
The older brother was
doing things
that he shouldn't
have been doing.
The all-night parties
and, you know, all the people
coming in and out
all times at night,
that type of thing,
while Erik was there.
And at the time,
the case worker came by and saw
everything that was going on.
So he came to the hospital.
He thinks Erik should be removed
from that situation.
I can see the caseworker's point
about Erik being in jeopardy.
And that's when he took him.
That's when he first went
into foster care.
He didn't like it, but I was
trying to do the best thing
for Erik, but I didn't want Erik
to be in jeopardy.
I regret getting sick
like I did.
I mean, this guy has been
with me ever since he was born.
And to have him taken
like that...
it's tough and hard
for me to get over.
What color is
that fallen flower?
ERIK: Yellow.
I was looking at that talk box,
what do you call it?
I don't see how you carry around
something that bulky.
MINO: No, no, this is how
you teach them.
But then it goes into
"tap to talk."
Quran has a cell phone, so he
wouldn't carry this around.
He would use his cell phone.
And then the phone, whatever he
types in, would say it.
-Then he would hear that.
it would reinforce
the language again.
-And you customize it.
MINO: The way Quran would talk,
or how we talk.
MAN: How we talk.
Our lingo.
Our lingo,
you know what I'm saying?
"Yo, man, can I get
three of those?"
-Had a good day?
Did you say, "See you later,
Ms. Mino"?
[Speaking indistinctly]
MINO: What?!
-Miss who?
Who's that?
[Speaking indistinctly]
What did you say?
See you later...
Look at nose.
Look at nose.
See you later...
-See you later...
What's my name?
Okay, see you later.
And make him do it hisself.
MAN: Which way you go, Quran?
WOMAN: You dropped something
on the floor.
Good morning, Matthew.
How are you?
I'm fine.
Would you like to say hi
to a friend?
Choose one -- who are you going
to say hi to?
What do you say?
Say, "Hi, Matthew."
Hi, Matthew.
Rahamid, what do you like
to play with?
I want to play with a ball.
-You like playing with a ball.
What do you do with the ball?
I want to play with a ball.
You like that, huh?
Come here.
Let's try you on this.
Type this on here.
Type that.
You've got to look at
the word "hope."
Robert's been absent 62 times.
And if you miss a day
with Robert,
it's like starting
all over again.
Robert. Type.
Stop it. Let's go. Type.
[Car alarm beeps]
[Cell phone rings]
Uh, I was diagnosed
September the 9th
with colon cancer.
Robert is with his mother,
and his mother is
attending to him now,
'cause the doctor said,
"The first time you get
the chemo,
it's going to make you
kind of sick."
But, uh...
I don't trust his mother.
His mother's not really stable.
She don't have no house
of her own.
His mother's on drugs.
She don't have no income.
What is it, 209?
Or 206?
Down the corridor this way.
Thank you.
Um... you all need a will.
You need a living will.
What if something happens
to you
and your child is disabled,
and what's going to happen
to that child?
You have to have everything down
in writing.
WOMAN: Are you familiar with how
to do a proposal?
-Yeah, you just say...
-A proposal?
That has to be done
in February or October.
Why? Because that's their rules
and regulations.
How do you apply
for anything
if they don't tell you, if you
don't have the information?
No, 'cause you always
have to contact them
and say, "This is what
I want to apply for."
You have to always
contact them.
It's messed up.
You cannot let nothing slide
with them, honey,
'cause they will not return
your call or anything else.
Sometimes go down there
and look 'em in the face,
eye to eye,
and they'll do something.
WOMAN: You have to have chemo
for two days a week?
-No, have to have chemo...
-Just two days?
For six months.
So... Don't look at me
like that, don't do that.
-No, I'm not.
-I don't want that look.
It's a concern, though.
Go ahead.
Okay. After that gets set up
and we get stable with that,
I think I'm going to go
and get Robert
and bring him back home,
but the doctor wanted to make
sure that I'd be okay.
Robert -- when is he coming
back to school, though?
I'm going to call my sister
up tonight
and I'm going to let her know
that she have to call the bus
and have the bus pick him up,
because he'll be back to school
maybe tomorrow,
maybe Friday,
or first thing Monday.
I'm just concerned
'cause he's been out.
And I called you but I thought
you were sick or something.
No. I have a lot of
doctor's appointments.
Oh, okay.
Just a lot
of doctor's appointments.
Good morning, birthday -- man.
Young man, yeah!
How old are you?
Yeah, so, what are we going
to do today?
-Uh, cake.
-We got a party!
-And who's coming?
-Erik's birthday.
Right, and who's coming
for Erik's birthday?
MINO: Wow!
You gotta open it.
[Card playing music]
I know she's going to come, she
always comes, but I'm thinking
maybe I should have just got a
cake, just in case. But I know
she's going to come.
Sit, Erik! Sit down! Sit down!!!
Yay! Erik wins!!
- Erik wins!
That was cheating!
WOMAN: Mino?
-Can you pick up your phone?
Oh, okay.
How far is she?
Oh, she isn't going to...
Erik, darling.
That was mommy called.
Right, and you know
what happened?
They never came
to pick her up.
So, she's going to come
another day, okay?
Come a day.
Then mommy will bring the Carvel
ice cream another day, okay?
All right, hold on.
Here, Erik.
Hi, Mommy. Hi.
Happy Birthday.
Thank you, Mommy.
Goodbye, Mommy.
Sing "Happy Birthday," Mommy.
Sing "Happy Birthday,"
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday
to you
Happy birthday,
dear Mommy
Happy birthday
to you
-All right, good job.
-Good job.
Good job, Erik.
Yay! Erik!
-What is that, Erik?
-It's cookies.
-What kind of cookies?
-That's okay.
-Cookie cake.
-Cookie cake!
-All right!
You happy?
How your cake taste?
-It taste like a cookie?
-A cookie.
A cookie with M&M's?
What's the name
of the place we're going?
-The WAE Center.
-The WAE Center?
MAN: One more time,
let's reach out.
And then another deep breath in.
WOMAN: The only criteria to come
to the WAE Center
is that you'd like to be here.
We have quite a number
of people with autism.
And how do they work out?
Oh, they're phenomenal.
As you're here...
That's the population
that I work with.
So that's the population
I'm looking to place
and I'm trying to find something
functional for them
that they're not going to
be sitting around,
so that's why I'm interested
in the art,
because the creativity...
SCHNEIDER: Nobody sits around.
-And that's what I like.
SCHNEIDER: Everybody's busy
all the time.
And they're doing things
that they want to do.
And because of that,
they're happy.
We're culturally, racially,
religiously different.
Everybody, we have every group,
and that's what we want.
This is the real world.
This is the real world.
And we want it
to be that way.
This is our art studio.
On Tuesday afternoons, we have
still-life or portraiture.
Like Monday's a bit of
a different class.
We have sculpture.
MINO: How many students
come in at one time?
Not students.
I gotta...
Everybody here is
a member of the WAE Center.
Okay, I like that.
We have different types of
sessions - one-on-one sessions
where it's one facilitator
with one artist.
We have group classes we've been
starting, expanding on that.
There's no good, bad,
or right or wrong.
It's, what do you want to do?
Is this exactly how you want it?
MINO: This is great!
Okay, we're going to go into
Circus Arts
and see what's going on.
Carefully, and you're going
to pass it to Mark.
Quietly, quietly.
You can do it, Mark.
I have faith in you.
Nice, good job.
Whoa! All right!
Very good!
-Great job!
-Great job.
-Really great.
You're lovely.
What's your name?
-My name is Janet.
-Janet, God bless you.
-You're lovely.
-Thank you.
-Did you enjoy the hoop thing?
-Yes, I really enjoyed that.
I love your...
I love your, uh...
your hair.
Oh, thank you.
They're dreads.
Yeah, ye--
I never saw dreads before.
Totally radical.
-Oh, thank you.
This is what
a schedule looks like.
This tells you all the different
classes that we have.
But, you know, even with that,
how do you make it work
for everyone?
The WAE Center is a good place,
but their hours are lousy.
They don't offer transportation.
You don't understand,
I should get paid overtime.
I'm always --
I tell you, always, weekend,
I'm always thinking
about them.
I'm like constantly,
"Well, what if I do that?"
You know,
you're trying different things.
It's just...
You just gotta
be in my head for a little
while, you'll be like, wow!
This is for Quran Key.
This is for
his psychological testing
that he's having today.
They're just going to see
where he's at.
His father wanted it.
So I guess his father wants
to see if he's grown
development-wise on, like,
this is like his self-care,
They got social, his work.
They ask about communication.
His functional academics,
school living.
So this is
my first time doing this.
Good morning, Ms. Thompson.
Good morning.
Good morning, Erik.
Good morning, Quran.
Hi, y'all.
Go on, you can get up!
I love you.
How was that, Erik?
Mommy's here.
Yes, and we're going to
get ready.
Carvel ice cream.
Yeah? Good!
What else we got.
Mommy got everything!
MOTHER: You still into
racing cars?
Racing cars, Mommy.
MOTHER: I'm over here.
Hot Wheels, Mommy.
Hot Wheels what?
A race-car video game,
MOTHER: Why do you gotta be
a comedian?
Go on, take it easy.
ERIK: I'm a fan, Mommy.
Fans, they do it.
MINO: You've gotta come
more often.
We get so much language
out of him.
[Mother chuckles]
Well, Erik's going to be 21.
What is his plans
for living situation?
Did they say anything
about you --
Well, he can't live with me
right now 'cause I'm in
a senior citizens disabled
I'd have to get
a 2-bedroom.
Then I'm not too sure he'd sleep
in his own bedroom.
Because when he's around me,
he's closer than my shadow.
I wanted to ask you about
this guy here.
What was he going to be doing
after he graduates?
MINO: Right. We're looking
into that now.
We're looking for
different programs for him.
And we've visited some spots,
but so far
that's where we're at,
we're just looking.
MOTHER: Uh-huh.
Is that milk?
Yes, Mommy.
You're finished.
MINO: The plan is for me to get
Erik a job at Burger King.
'Cause that's where Erik wants
to work after graduation.
Hi, my name is Janet Mino.
I work in Newark.
I work at JFK.
I just come because I have
a young adult with autism.
And his dream is
to work at Burger King.
But a coach, somebody have
to be here with them.
Yes, he will have a job coach
with him, or a life coach.
Only three days in the week?
Only three days,
and it would be in the morning.
Maybe from 9:00 to 11:00.
Is that good?
-That's good.
-That's good?
Erik's dream!
He's going to be so happy.
Burger King hat,
I'm going to send one of
my teacher assistants
to be his job coach,
and his transportation is
going to be with the bus
from the school.
MAN: Who wants to go first?
You get five tries to get it
in the basket.
He got three in a row.
Oh, that's one!
What? What's up?
What are y'all two doing there?
Ra-ra, your turn.
Your turn to shoot, come on.
Throw it.
You gotta look at the hoop.
-Throw it.
-Shoot 'em in there.
Why did you hit me?!
Come on.
-You wanna sit here?
Say, "That's my spot, man,
I was sitting there."
-I was sitting there.
-Tell him, not me.
-I was sitting there...
Tell him!
Tell him!
I was sitting there.
You have a right...
-Yeah, yes.
-Tell him!
Tell him.
[Bell rings]
His psych test?
How was it?
Well, we'll talk about it later.
It's going to be
a long conversation.
-Was it good?
-No, it wasn't good.
I mean, it's expected,
but, you know...
I don't even go
by those tests.
I know, you can't.
'Cause how are they
going to test him?
If he do--
That's what's confusing me,
'cause if you're going
to test Quran,
if you don't know Quran,
you don't have no reinforcers
or be able to get language
out of Quran,
how is it a fair assessment
of Quran?
MAN: Like, if you say, "Quran,"
you show Quran how to put
a stamp on a paper,
and then he's talking about
something else,
then they say, "Quran, place
the stamp on the paper,"
he said Quran wasn't able to put
the stamp in the right place.
That's according to the report.
Little things like that
that concern concentration --
You know what?
That's interesting.
Because how you gonna...
with him...
if you know working
with kids with autism,
it's got to be
a consistent thing.
If he never put a stamp in
a proper place on an envelope,
you do it one time and you just
change the subject,
he didn't learn that program.
So how he's going to be expected
to do that?
Okay, I gotta go.
I'll see you later on
this evening, Quran, all right?
-All right.
-All right.
My man.
you gotta go.
Yeah, I gotta go
to a doctor's appointment.
MINO: I'll talk to you later.
-Okay, Quran, I'll see y'all.
-All right.
You know, uh...
it seems like he reversed
instead of...
you know what I'm saying?
He regressed on some
of the things
that I know that he's able
to do.
They got away
from the academics
and started just focusing
on life skills.
Now, I agreed to that.
You know, but now
I'm not so sure that
that decision I made is...
was a good one.
Oh, that face.
What's the matter, Robby Rob?
Do some work.
He's cursing me out.
Do some work.
Why are you so mad?
MINO: Okay, okay, Robert.
Don't bite me.
Wait, wait, wait.
Robert, Robert.
What happened?
What happened?
MAN: He don't wanna do nothing.
Here, talk to me.
What happened?
Let's go to here.
Let's start with here.
You have to look, though.
You can push this...
You feel sick?
Do you want to go to the nurse?
Robert, do you want
to go to the nurse?
You want to go wash
your face again and relax?
Look who's here.
MINO: You traitor!
Come here, Tesean.
Come here, come here.
MOTHER: Take your coat off.
[Tesean shrieks]
This isn't...
That's your teacher!
[Tesean whines]
-You don't wanna be here?
-That's your teacher.
-We are so happy to see you.
-They're happy to see you.
Do me a favor, just sit
with Robert, he's upset.
[Tesean shrieks]
We're going to ignore Tesean
until Tesean get it together.
-And we're gonna take you.
-Yes, please.
And you're going to come
this way.
Welcome to all of you.
Good morning.
ALL: Good morning.
And yet again, we're having
another panel discussion
on services that are vital
and necessary in school
as well as once your students
leave school
in the community.
We have the pleasure
of having
one of our very first
of two graduates
from the school here
in the autism program.
Ms. Callie Stansel,
who's the parent of Tesean.
Good morning, everybody.
I'm Callie Stansel and I live
in the city of Newark.
And I am a parent.
And if you would meet Tesean,
you would say, "Oh,"
because he'd come in --
He came in
with that this morning.
I said, "He's back.
Your child is back."
They said, "Oh, my God!"
But I do thank God
for him being here,
for that experience that
I've had.
Okay, if you have any questions,
I guess you can ask them
later on.
WOMAN: It's no longer school,
it's work.
We want you to think work,
to hear the word "work."
Everywhere around
the building is work.
We encourage the parents to say
you're coming to work.
And that's what we want for our
children is that they move on
to the next phase in life
like any other child.
You child would come into
the WAE Center
and decide that they want
to be in theater,
they want to be in art,
they want to take music class,
they want to do yoga,
and that schedule would be
created for them.
Are your programs going to be
working on more transportation?
You have to pay for it if
the state's
not going to pay for it.
Every place doesn't, and,
as they said earlier,
"transportation is the key to
your successful transitioning."
DVR, Vocational Rehab, offers
a whole bunch of services.
It is a government program,
federal and state funded.
Our goal is to really just help
people be successful,
because that's how
we're successful.
We keep our funding coming in
by getting people employed.
How could you help
an autistic, nonverbal person?
We have funding, but it's
limited to help the person,
really, to get on their feet
and to start working.
We can't follow them
for the rest of their life
or anything like that.
I'm still asking, what do you
have to offer for him?
It really depends how
independent that person can be.
As they graduate,
there will be funding.
There's a whole process
you all have to go through,
which is a survey.
They'll call you.
They're going to ask you
about your family member.
And you're going to have
to do something
that you haven't done
in your life.
You're going to have
to tell them
all the things
that they can't do.
So if your child crosses
the street on their own,
but you're standing
on the corner
and you tell them when
the light turns green,
they are not independent.
And you have to be able
to own that
when you have this interview.
WOMAN: So next we want
to invite Ms. Rosa Albanese
from Birchwood, a day program.
Birchwood is
a medical daycare center
for people from 18 years old
and up.
We have really two programs,
one for seniors
and the other one for
developmental disableds.
And for developmental disabled,
we try that they have fun.
We have a lot of people from
this school, and after lunch
they can go there --
we can pick them up here.
And we accommodate according to
the disability that they have.
We need to know everything so we
can help in the right way.
And just remember, this is
a medical daycare service.
Robert, Kareem, and Quran
just started going
to Birchwood in the afternoon.
I wish they would stay
until the end of the day
and then go to Birchwood.
That's not my choice.
I don't have no say over that.
I don't know
what they're doing there,
but if they're not working
one-on-one with them
and not pushing them, they're
doing absolutely nothing.
I know that.
Hi, how are you doing?
-Great! How are you?
-I'm good.
Good. I'm Janet.
How are you doing, Kirk?
-Nice to meet you, welcome.
-Thank you.
-Thanks for coming by today.
-Thanks for having me.
We're going to check out
the program if that's all right.
So you're going to be the one
touring me around?
Yes, I will do my best to be
the best tour guide.
All I've got is my family.
I think of them all the time.
I think of my family members
all the time.
MAN: So, what do you do
after you do that?
MINO: Move over a little.
Can I squeeze in there?
Can I squeeze between y'all?
Hi, Kareem.
Put your hands down.
-How you doing?
MAN: Do your socks go
on your hands? No?
Where do the socks go?
Show me where on the body.
Show it.
Point to it.
Where do Socks go?
Where does this go?
Right here?
So, what goes first?
Kareem, let's put this
on the side.
Yeah, he might get
In the morning time, right?
Listen first.
Put your hands down.
Look at me -- In the morning,
when you get dressed,
what do you put on first?
You put on your...
What is that?
MAN: What are those,
MINO: What is it?
MAN: Where do those go?
MINO: You put on your pants?
Put the hands down.
So, um...
I would prefer like if they
were interacting,
with games and different to
bring out more communicating.
-Communication with each other.
Things like that.
Um, it is what it is.
MAN: The spectrum of autism
is very wide.
So there's some we probably
won't be able to handle
because we have...
So, you wouldn't take children
with behaviors?
That's not true, no,
I'm saying it's case by case.
-Case by case?
I was just seeing if this is
a proper place for my kids.
'Cause I heard this was more
for senior citizens.
Well, it originally was.
So I didn't quite understand.
So I said,
"Let me come see."
But, what the parents are
looking for
that you offer is the hours.
-And the transportation.
But the academic part that they
don't realize but they need
is just communications
and life skills.
That's what they need.
And money management,
dealing with knowing that,
if I have this money,
I can buy this object.
With the state, we can't deal
with any real money.
Because we're a private
No, but if you had a store and
the kids had an opportunity --
Even, are you allowed to go out
in the community?
Walks. Around the neighborhood.
Are you allowed to do that?
We can't, being a medical
day center.
I wish we could; there's so many
things I'd like...
MINO: That's a life skill, too.
MAN: We do the best we can.
We go out, show them Central Av.
from the end of our parking lot,
and do our nature works --
we do a lot of special events
with them, too.
I was just wondering,
is there a speech therapist?
We don't have
a speech therapist now.
Want me to show you how?
I can teach you real quick.
-It's quite simple.
If they see the picture of
a cookie,
they won't associate it
with a cookie.
You start with one picture
of a cookie.
Then you actually have
the cookie there.
That way, they start to
understand this is a cookie.
And since you don't
have a lot of staff,
you can do it in a group thing
as a game.
That's what we would
try to do to that.
But this is definitely going
in the right direction.
I think you're doing
a good thing.
Well, we're working on it.
You've figured
a lot of different ideas
to add different programs and
different choices you have here,
and make it larger.
All the parents are going
to come to this place
because they've got
That's like the hardest thing.
But I would just hate to think
that everything that you did
all through the years,
and then they come back,
and if you don't practice
anything, you lose it.
Quran's higher functioning
than adult daycare,
which is Birchwood.
He's much better than that.
I don't recommend that
for Quran.
I'm not trying to belittle
the program.
For the right persons,
it's okay and it's great.
But for someone who has
capabilities beyond sitting
and playing games
and going on trips,
they can go beyond that.
MINO: A lot of parents,
they're looking
for a baby-sitter.
They need a place.
Right, and I understand that
because they have to work
and they have to make a living,
so they need something.
But they're not looking
for quality.
Right, and that's what we have
to gear them towards,
to look for appropriate places
that meet their child's needs,
not just somewhere to put them
for so many hours of the day.
Ms. Mino told me, she said,
"I'm so mad at you 'cause Quran
gotta leave at 12:00."
And I was like, well,
"What is he gonna miss?"
They said, "Speech."
Him being at Birchwood
in the afternoon
is more productive for him
than being in a classroom
and, you know,
and I don't know what
he's doing.
But the hours,
that's what's the benefit,
you know what I'm saying?
And it saves us
a lot of money.
You know, I'm kind of happy.
Not happy, but,
you know, content.
MINO: It's really hard.
I guess I gotta just...
I don't know.
MINO: Maybe you got something at
the firehouse they can do.
Oh, no.
-I can solve the problem.
-Okay, solve the problem.
You have to integrate them
into the community.
That's what we're trying.
Okay, I'm telling you
what to do.
Right, I'm listening.
Would you mind if they worked
at a car wash?
But, if...
I don't wanna just...
If that's something that's
in their interest.
JENKINS: How about janitorial
services, maintenance?
MINO: Yeah, they do that.
They do maintenance
in the school.
Okay, so if you've got them
in the schools,
why can't you develop a program
where they go to
all different schools?
You gotta go be
the advocate for them.
Right, and I did that,
but --
Then you didn't do it
hard enough,
because I'm sure, if you go
to the principal --
-That's who I went to.
-Then go over his head.
That's who I went to.
-It's easy to make it happen.
-You think so?
Yep, all you got to do is light
the fire under yourself.
[Raps table]
Light the fire under myself?
I don't know.
Matthew, come back here.
Good morning, Quran.
Good morning, Ms. Mino.
How are you?
-I'm fine.
QURAN: I'm fine.
MINO: Good job.
Now ask me, Quran.
How are you?
I'm fine.
Thanks for asking.
That was excellent,
Look, I'm going to teach you
something while we're here.
These are your words, you gotta
learn how to do this.
Mom, I am hungry.
You're hungry?
What you wanna eat?
MINO: Okay, go back.
-I want dinner.
You want some dinner?
So it takes a while
to become a habit.
Pretty soon it's going to be
so natural, like da-da-da,
and he's going to repeat it,
And then maybe it enhances
some language,
and they may not need it
one day.
Welcome. It's so wonderful
to have you all here.
What I want to see
for each child
is to fulfill their
God-given capability
to its maximum potential.
And with the belief that every
child in the autism spectrum has
the ability to do so, and how do
we help you accomplish that?
Thank you for having me.
My name is Janet Mino.
I'm a school teacher
in Newark Public Schools.
I'm in the inner city.
I listen to everybody talk about
the different things they offer,
but yet the inner city,
where I work,
we're not getting this
I'm also working with young
adults who are aging out
and I've been looking for
two years for different places
for my young adults to go to,
and we did have a success.
Erik Taylor, he's working at
Burger King and he's so happy.
This is something
that he wanted.
MAN: Ready to go to work, Erik?
-All right, good, let's go.
Let's go.
WOMAN: Erik is great.
He's outgoing.
He comes and says good morning
to everybody.
We all love him.
And I would love to have Erik
work here permanently.
MINO: I'm going to ask you
to identify
the different coins, okay?
Robert, how many quarters
are in a dollar?
Four, good job, Robert.
Give me a high-five or no?
Okay, guys, here we go.
Is this a walk-a-thon?
-What's this?
This is your neighborhood, guys.
You can speak to people.
Okay, look at the price.
How much is this?
You give him one quarter.
And look, you have this,
and you put it in your pocket.
Very good, guys.
Don't be scared.
be scared.
It's good, see?
It's only water.
MINO: Robert, I just think
he's just sad.
There you go, see?
MINO: I just think he's sad.
Good work.
When somebody's hurting...
and they can't express to you
it's just hard to call sometime.
"...a spring lamb.
Home again..."
Good job.
How did you just
switch off so quick?
Do you want to finish this?
I don't know what Robert's
future is going to be.
Birchwood is a safe place
for him.
He seemed to love it.
It's sad because Robert has
a lot of potential.
I don't know.
All right.
-All right, that's enough.
The urinal.
-Great job, Erik.
-Great job.
Ms. Mino asked me to come back
like once a week.
Just on Mondays because
the manager was saying
that Erik was not doing
his job.
He would stop and just wipe
the table just one time
and just stay in one spot.
-Now what do you do?
The manager and the other
crew members had to, you know,
"Erik, you have to do your job.
Come on, you have to keep up.
You have to wash the table, you
got to wipe the windows down."
So Ms. Mino asked me
to come up here
to make sure Erik
is back on track.
Gloves off.
In order for Erik to continue
to work at Burger King,
he would just need once a week
for someone to assist him.
MINO: You got to realize,
after Erik leaves here,
he's out of my control.
Whether they're going
to give him a job coach
or anything like that,
it's up to the state
and his mom
to request that service.
So there's only a few of us that
still ain't made our minds up.
You know, hey,
I'm a choosey mama.
I'm a choosey
That's okay.
I understand as a parent,
you look and you're trying to
find the right niche and say,
"Okay, this is the place,
I feel good about this."
You guys have to come down
and bring a decision.
Or they're gonna be home.
That's the thing for it.
We don't want them home.
I have to be realistic
about what's out there.
And there we go.
MINO: You have to just make
a choice
until something better
comes out.
Simon says do this.
Simon says do this.
Simon says
do this.
MAN: I-24.
MINO: You want everything to be
the way it is in your classroom,
but it's not.
MAN: Okay!
MINO: I just wish I had
a place for all of them.
That you could appreciate
their differences
but help them develop more
But treat them like adults
and have it fun.
Right, 'cause you're looking at
it from a teacher's perspective.
No, I'm not.
I was looking at it then as,
if this was my kid,
would I want them to come.
Yeah, but they're going to be
okay, Mino.
I know you're worried and
committed to them having success
and guess what, there's nothing
that we can do
beyond what you've already done.
They may or may not regress, but
you have to kind of let it go.
You really do.
I feel that they will do fine,
and I'm going to
keep that positive perspective
that they're going to do fine.
I've done social work
long enough
where I really had to learn
how to let go.
You look handsome!
Look at this!
Oh, I like!
Nice! Turn around.
You got a haircut, too?
WOMAN: Mino, look!
MINO: Oh, let me see.
WOMAN: Look at this.
That's nice!
I don't have any makeup.
-Wait, Erik.
-Wait, Erik.
Look at you!
Turn around!
WOMAN: Oh, right.
WOMAN: Okay, okay, that's it.
Now, here we go.
Oh, boy.
-How you doing today?
-Thank you.
The parents get
as much as the kids.
MINO: Hey, Robert!
You, come here!
WOMAN: He made it.
Look at this.
There, look at the shoes!
I like!
I'm praying that Linda
will be here
because it would be really sad
if everybody got somebody here
and Robert don't at the end.
Carina, you're in back
of Robert Casper.
You're in back of her.
Erik, come out of line a minute.
You're in the wrong spot anyway.
Don't be nervous.
This is your day.
Forget about
the people, this is your day.
Good morning and welcome
to John F. Kennedy School,
the best kept secret
in Newark.
Graduation ceremony for
the class of 2012.
[Band playing]
Everyone please rise.
["Pomp and Circumstance"
Give 'em a hand.
Always when we come
to a graduation,
we know that it
is the ending of something
but it also the beginning
of another chapter in
the lives of our young people.
Families, you must always,
always advocate for your
And fight for what
is out there
that they deserve.
Do not sit back and let
anyone tell you
what they cannot do.
We always thrive on what
their abilities are,
not what their disabilities are.
And our next guest speaker
is Mr. Erik Taylor.
Today will be my last day
at JFK School.
I am sad that I have to leave it
and will not return
in September.
But I know it is time
for me to go.
I came to John F. Kennedy School
as a little boy
but I am leaving as
a young man.
I would like to say
thank you to my classmates
who have been my family here,
and I will never forget you
and I hope
you will not forget me.
Thank you.
[Cheering and applause]
Now comes the part that
lets us know
that we're coming
to a close.
The diplomas to the class
of 2012.
[String quartet playing]
Robert Casper!
[Cheering and applause]
And the next diploma recipient
Quran Rashid Key!
Whoo! Go, go, go!
And the next award recipient is
Erik Taylor!
MINO: Yay, Erik!
And it gives me great honor
and great pleasure to introduce
the graduating class of 2012.
string orchestra plays]
Wow! Quran!
All this stuff you got
going on here.
Oh, God.
Oh, Robert, gimme a hug!
Gimme a hug!
Can I have a hug?
Good luck with everything, okay?
If Erik could,
he would stay in school
the rest of his life.
Say, Erik, "I don't wanna
do that!
I got to move on
to better things."
ERIK: Yes.
WOMAN: Yay, you graduated!
-All right!
Hey, John!
I've done everything that I
could possibly do.
I just hope it's enough.
[Piano playing
"This Little Light of Mine"]
That's a nice job.
Yeah, yeah, wicked!
What's that?
MINO: Come on,
let's do one.
Rosie, what season
are we in?
Very good.
What is the month?
-What month are we in?
-Right, and what is today?
Very good,
and what is the number day?
Good girl, Rosie.
You did a great job.
Now where do I wanna go? Whoo!
All right, let me work with...
How is he doin'?
This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
Oh, this little light
of mine
Mm, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine