El Granada, California

I work with severely disabled children as a paraeducator. I am a classroom aide.

A daily problem I deal with is helping a child hold a pencil and waiting for that person to finally close their fingers around the pencil in what we call a pencil grasp.

Puzzling about how children work, I have studied child development and further focused on how human motor skill development works and unfolds.

Seeing the speed and apparent seamless smoothness of non-disabled children is causing me to realize the great scope of motor skill learning that takes place between the ages of 2 and 14 years.

In limited ways, these observations give me ideas for reopening gateways to nonviolent social change.

I wouldn't have said this a year ago:"In a certain way, life is a social dance. We should help young people learn constructive dance steps."

For example, the waltz is a kind of dance and the gang-fight is another kind of dance.

Waltz is taught by PE teachers, and gang-fight is taught as a 6th grade lunchtime play game. Gang-fight the game is basically soccer after the soccer ball is kicked over the fence and out of reach.

Other things being equal, I suggest we teach the waltz or the ethnically appropriate analogue before the children learn the gang-fight by the folklore transfer process.

Other interests: ham radio, atomic particles and string theory, information theory, knot theory, learning the Sage mathematics system, modern composers (Glass, Adams, Riley)