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Old December 13th, 2016, 11:09 AM   #651
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in the Philadelphia metropolitan area in Pennsylvania.

The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support is a Merion Station, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that has a two-fold mission: to educate and train the autism professionals of tomorrow, while supporting and serving those affected by Autism, including children, today. The Kinney Center’s Youth Social Skills Program and its summer day camp is designed for children with autism from the age of 3...
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Courtney Brinkerhoff-Rau ’86 has won another Emmy for her video storytelling work.

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) awarded presented the Mid-Atlantic Emmy for a video Brinkerhoff-Rau produced for the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support.

“There are so many fascinating stories out there, and I love the opportunity to tell people’s stories, especially when it can be used to educate people about something that needs attention,” she said.

Brinkerhoff-Rau worked in the news industry for 25 years ...She has won several Emmy awards along the way. As she progressed, she found herself spending more time in management and less time producing journalism, her real passion. Three years ago, Brinkerhoff-Rau decided to start her own production company dedicated to helping clients tell their stories through video.

She has developed a technique for effective fundraising campaign videos, inspired by her analysis of ineffective videos she has endured over the years. “There’s really a craft and a unique way that you tell a story,” she said. “I figured out a good formula for how to get people to watch and pay attention.”

Leaders of the Kinney Center, an autism education program ...approached Brinkerhoff-Rau in 2012. She conducted on-camera and off-camera interviews with autistic students in the program, their parents, college students who work with them, and the program’s administrators. The finished film debuted in September 2012 and has been successful in both raising money for the Kinney Center and increasing awareness of the need for autism education.

This was one of her favorite projects because of the inspiring stories it captured—children who met true friends at the Kinney Center, college students who found their passion in education, and parents who found hope. “I’ve done a million stories, but every once in a while there is one that really sticks with me,” Brinkerhoff-Rau said. “This was one of them. This piece was very inspiring to me personally. What a pleasant surprise that it ended up winning an Emmy.”
Here is a link to a video from the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support from last year:


Last edited by Visionary7903; December 16th, 2016 at 11:17 AM.
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Old December 14th, 2016, 08:33 AM   #652
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in the Philadelphia metropolitan area in Pennsylvania.

SPIN is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organisation that aims to provide the highest quality services to those, including children, with Autism other challenges. SPIN, which stands for 'Special People in Northeast', is also a leading provider of inclusive, early childhood education...
Quote:
SPIN has teamed up with Philadelphia's Community Behavioral Health to open up an Autism Center for Excellence. It's the only outpatient center serving Northeast Philadelphia.

"Autism is a rapidly increasing disability," says Annemarie Clarke, the Behavioral Health Corporate Officer at SPIN. She says her group joined forces with Northeast Treatment Centers to create the SPIN-NET Philadelphia Autism Center of Excellence, which provides treatment space for children on the autism spectrum [from the age] of two... She says the outpatient center, which has interactive playrooms for children and spaces for counselors.

...Clarke says SPIN took in more than 160 children with autism since July of this year.

..."In linguistically and culturally diverse communities we have not done a great job identifying children in those areas," she says. "One of the things we feel especially proud of as is that we've brought on some bilingual staff."

The autism center has a staff of 30 and has room to expand.

Clarke says SPIN-NET accepts Medicaid and all commercial insurance.
Here is a link to a video from SPIN's Autism services from about a year ago:


Last edited by Visionary7903; December 16th, 2016 at 11:24 AM.
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Old December 16th, 2016, 11:35 AM   #653
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in the Philadelphia metropolitan area in Pennsylvania.

The Autism Cares Foundation is a Northampton Township, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit whose support revolves around improving the life experiences for those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders, including children, today. Its offerings provide an environment that enriches the life experiences of an individual with Autism whereby he/she can engage in the type of play and other activities that other people enjoy...
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The Autism Cares Foundation’s Race for Resources attracted a record number of runners and supporters on a chilly autumn day; but everyone involved said they came with warm hearts.

More than 2,500 participants gathered at Tyler State Park’s Center for the Arts ...to run, walk, learn, connect, and share the message of love and acceptance for children ...with autism [and others].

This was the largest turnout, and most successful race to date, and included 80 teams; many of them ran in honor of a loved one with autism; who are involved with the non-profit Autism Cares Foundation.

So far, $115,000 was raised at the event; and contributions are continuing to come in.

...“It is truly phenomenal to see this overwhelming support for the Autism Cares Foundation and our Race for Resources,” said Co-founder Frank Kuepper, of the Saturday, November 12, event.

“So many people came out to support our organization and everything that we do, and they have gone above and beyond,” Kuepper said. “We are deeply proud that this event grows larger and larger each year.” The first Race attracted less than 100 participants.

“One of the reasons we get excited about the Race for Resources,” he added, “is that it is the one time each year that we get to see our family friends and neighbors who support our efforts and show our community how vast your support is.”

This family-friendly event had something for everyone. In addition to the 5K, 10K, and Fun Walk, there was an Autism Expo, with more than 30 service providers.

Some of the highlights of the day were the Autism Cares Foundation’s Glee Club singing the National Anthem, music from Dolan’s DJ’s, a video game bus, bounce house, ACCT Philly Animal Rescue, a custom built autism motorcycle, the Philly Phanatic, and much more.

An enthusiastic CBS 3 News Anchor Jim Donovan helped gear up the race. “It is a very chilly Saturday morning here at Tyler State Park where I am about to kick-off the 7th Annual Race for Resources for the Autism Cares Foundation. Today is a great day for a Race. I urge everyone to get involved. This is an amazing organization so let’s have even more people next year.”

Donovan was front and center when he joined Autism Cares Foundation Co-founders and loving parents Linda and Frank Kuepper, and Race Chairman Fred Sciascia, when the runners began to stretch to prepare for the big event.

“It is gratifying to see so many familiar faces and also extremely exciting to see so many new ones,” Sciascia said. “In 2017, in order to provide the level of service that everyone has come to know over the years, this program will continue to expand.”

This includes the addition of Supported Employment Services. “We look forward to opening Autism Cares Foundation Chapters in our surrounding communities,” Sciascia told the Race participants. “I want to thank everyone here for making this day such a success.”

More than 125 volunteers, including individuals, families, community groups, colleges, and high schools came out to make sure the event ran smoothly.

...This year, the Autism Cares Foundation provides more than 200 free events, programs and life enrichment opportunities to more than 900 families in the Tri-State area.

...At the Race for Resources, there were many beaming parents wearing team T-shirts who had tears in their eyes when they spoke lovingly about their sons and daughters with autism, and what the Autism Cares Foundation has meant to their families.

Proudly wearing his red Team Tyler T-shirt Brad Ferrara, of Holland, said his family has been involved in all seven of the Race for Resources.

This year his team alone had 60 runners in support of his son, Tyler, now 11. “We’ve been so lucky to help this great cause. It’s really about the children, and all the love everyone has for them,” Ferrara said. “My family and I will keep coming back.”
Here is a link to a video of the Autism Cares Foundation's 'Race for Resources' from a year ago:


Last edited by Visionary7903; December 16th, 2016 at 11:52 AM.
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Old December 20th, 2016, 10:34 AM   #654
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in the Philadelphia metropolitan area in Pennsylvania.

In the northeast of Pennsylvania, Pocono Raceway in Monroe County, Pennsylvania hosts an annual 'Walk Now for Autism Speaks' awareness event and fundraiser. It is for Autism Speaks, North America's leading Autism science and advocacy organisation...
Quote:
How big of a Verizon IndyCar Series fan is Michael Crowe?

Well, despite being only six years old, he has already decided ...his favorite driver and Pocono Raceway is his favorite track.

He, along with the help of his parents Michael and Samantha, designed a homemade fire suit...

And then the family, including siblings Maya and Payton went to work on designing a ‘Tricky Triangle’ in the family’s yard.

Michael, who has autism, used his incredible attention to detail to design a track to race his INDYCARS on. Since Pocono Raceway was Michael’s favorite track, the choice was easy. Michael and his family spent weeks marking the yard, digging the track and filling it in with cement. Once the track was painted, it became a favorite hangout of Michael and his neighborhood friends...

Michael first began watching racing as a four-year old... The family then developed a relationship with Chip Ganassi Racing and racing strategist Mike Hull.

Hull invited the family to Pocono Raceway for the ABC Supply 500 and provided an incredible weekend for the [family.]

With his mother and father nearby, Michael was all smiles... Driver Tony Kanaan introduced Michael to most of the INDYCAR paddock and then former series champion Dario Franchitti took Michael to an autograph session.

For now, Michael and his family have the incredible memories of a great weekend at Pocono Raceway and replica track in their yard as they countdown to the ABC Supply 500 in August of 2017.

Pocono Raceway will host seven national motorsports events during the 2017 racing season, including two NASCAR Cup races and the Verizon IndyCar Series. A NASCAR XFINITY Series race, one Camping World Truck Series Race and two ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards are also on the schedule for 2017...
Here is a link to a video on the Northeast Pennsylvania 'Walk Now for Autism Speaks' at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania from last year:


Last edited by Visionary7903; December 23rd, 2016 at 08:48 AM.
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Old December 21st, 2016, 10:02 AM   #655
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of the last post was the annual Northeast Pennsylvania 'Walk Now for Autism Speaks' awareness event and fundraiser, held at Pocono Raceway in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. It is for Autism Speaks, North America's leading Autism science and advocacy organisation.

Staying in the northeast of Pennsylvania, Friendship House is a Scranton, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that provides quality programs and services designed to enhance the emotional, behavioral and social well-being of those individuals, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, in the communities it serves. The Northeast Regional Autism Center at Friendship House offers treatment options unique to the area with research-proven treatments and services delivered by staff, extensively trained in Applied Behavior Analysis, being the cornerstone of the program...
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Friendship House celebrated a milestone in its ...history on Monday with the dedication of an autism center officials hope will meet a growing need for services.

Opened three months ago, the 14,000-square-foot Northeast Regional Autism Center features about 10 instructional rooms for an early intensive behavioral intervention program that has a goal of leading children to independence.

"This is such a great day," James Gibbons, chairman of the Friendship House board, said Monday. "This is a wonderful facility."

The $1.6 million autism center doubled Friendship House's treatment capacity from 60 to 120 autistic children.

Public and private money was used to fund the project...

..."This wonderful center will enable us to expand on our programs," said Mary [C.] Remick, Friendship House clinical director of autism services.

..."The possibilities for future programming are greater now," said Melissa Cottone, Friendship House assistant clinical director.

As children learn new functional skills at the autism center, they move onto additional activities of greater complexity. Functional skills taught at the autism center include literacy and play.

One room is known as the "sensory room" and is designed to help children decompress from activities at the center, said Brian Doran, of Hemmler & Camayd Architects. Painted in light blue, the sensory room also has a beanbag chair in a nook, where children can listen to soft music.

Mr. Doran, whose 7-year-old son, Justin, has autism, said the autism center was designed by people who have personal experience with the disorder.

"This center will address the need," Mr. Doran said.
Here is a link to photos from the Northeast Regional Autism Center at Friendship House: https://www.facebook.com/pg/northeas...=page_internal


Last edited by Visionary7903; December 23rd, 2016 at 08:51 AM.
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Old December 23rd, 2016, 09:46 AM   #656
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of the last couple of posts has been on Autism-related events and organisations in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI), based in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, is part of the Geisinger Health System, a nonprofit integrated health services organisation. ADMI's mission is to improve outcomes for individuals with developmental disorders, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, through increased access, accurate diagnosis, discovery of underlying causes, and development of targeted treatments...
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...Geisinger’s Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI) was started as a means of bringing services to people struggling with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr. Tom Challman, ADMI medical director and a neurodevelopmental pediatrician, explained that while developmental disorders are common, many people simply had little way of accessing services that could provide help.

“We were seeing what a lot of places were seeing nationwide,” he said. “Long waiting lists. People have to travel far for services.”

Located in Lewisburg, the ADMI allows families to access a variety of medical, behavioral, genetic counseling and assessing services. It also came about as the need to find a partnership between clinical and research efforts to improve outcomes for children with special developmental needs.

Challman said the ADMI and its services have been well-received.

“We do about 1,000 new evaluations a year for children with developmental disorders,” he said. “We reduced our waiting times. It’s three to five months for a new evaluation which is far better than other places nationwide. We’ve provided access and quality care.”

He said Geisinger has been able to recruit some of the top specialists in the field.

“Families are trying to find out what is happening with their children,” Challman said. “We are trying to find out reasons.”

...Barbara Haas-Givler, ADMI behavior analyst and educational consultant, said the more educators learn about autism, the better they can deal with students with the condition.

During her career she had learned to better identify inappropriate behavior often manifested by autistic students and adopt strategies for dealing with those students.

Autistic children often display any of various behavioural symptoms...

An overall awareness of many of those behavioral symptoms can go a long way toward successful classroom instruction, she said.
Here is a link to a recent video of a practice run of a medical imaging technique for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Geisinger Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI): https://www.facebook.com/GeisingerAD...type=2&theater


Last edited by Visionary7903; December 24th, 2016 at 09:45 AM.
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Old December 24th, 2016, 09:57 AM   #657
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Lehigh Valley has its own annual 'Walk Now for Autism Speaks', held at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom. This is an annual Autism awareness event and fundraiser for Autism Speaks, North America's leading Autism science and advocacy organisation...
Quote:
Sunshine and warm weather drew thousands to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom on Saturday for Walk Now for Autism Speaks, which has become the biggest walk in the Lehigh Valley.

The beautiful weather drew participants of all ages and backgrounds, from motorcycle clubs to moms pushing jog strollers. But everyone shared one mission -- to increase awareness, resources and research of autism spectrum disorders.

Walkers gathered at the South Whitehall Township amusement park with the goal of raising $400,000 for Autism Speaks, a non-profit advocacy organization. Teams took over tables and benches, stacking them with team T-shirts, hats, sunglasses and water bottles, rallying before the walk. Twenty service providers from Good Shepherd to KidsPeace offered information to families.

Joe DiMaria of Allentown, father to 12 year-old Patrick ...has participated in the event for eight of its nine years. Thirty people were on his team this year, including Patrick, whose catchphrase is "It's a great day."

The crowd of about 5,000 agreed. And so did Patrick's father.

"We do it to raise funds for research, awareness, family services," DiMaria said.

...Ann and Brendan Troxel of [Northampton County] organized The Troxel Buccaneers team. They and their two autistic sons, Talon and Caiden, had fun with the moniker, dressing in full pirate regalia. The team's motto is "Navigating the Seas of Autism." Ann Troxel said the motto fits the circumstances: Sometimes there is calm, other times there is turbulence, but the water -- meaning the love of family -- is constant.

"I could be miserable, but I choose to be happy," she said. "I believe happy is a choice."

Ann Troxel said she found Autism Speaks' Hundred Day Kit, which helps parents navigate the first hundred days following an autism diagnosis, enormously helpful.

"You go from thinking you have this perfect little bundle. ... It took time to acclimate," she said. "Eventually we learned to stand up again and live as typical a life as we can."

Troxel said both her sons showed drastic changes at age 3, but with help from Good Shepherd and an ongoing team of therapists, have improved. Troxel said some may think autistic people are weird or quirky, but they just want friends like everyone else.

The Troxels and their [team] were the top fundraisers last year and were poised to be the top again this year, having raised more than $13,000 by Saturday morning.

The mission of Autism Speaks is family services, awareness, science and advocacy. The organization has an Autism Response Team hotline that families can call for resources: 888-AUTISM-2...
Here is a link to a video: https://www.facebook.com/AutismSpeak.../322700849266/

(source: Morning Call)

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Old December 28th, 2016, 07:44 AM   #658
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

The Tommy Foundation is a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that provides direct assistance to families, as well providing trainings to hundreds of students, professionals, PhD candidates and doctors to date. The Tommy Foundation continually seeks to embrace individuals on the entire autism spectrum, and educate those, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, to handle the condition...
Quote:
As she stood in [the park] on Saturday morning, Susan Luu was grateful for a chance to exhale.

Her three children ...were happily playing on inflatable sliding boards behind her, under the gaze of family and friends.

And if that were to change, and her 7-year-old daughter Jun ...[Susan] knew that the other adults would treat Luu and her non-verbal daughter with compassion...

"Here, people get it. ...They understand that she gets overwhelmed," said [Susan].

'Here' was the ninth annual ...Autism walk, expo and festival, which drew a record 1,100 people to the park, next to Franklin & Marshall College.

The event was sponsored by The Tommy Foundation, a Lancaster-based nonprofit started 11 years ago by [Richard] Everts and his wife, Sugey Cruz-Everts.

...Autism is a developmental disability that affects some basic brain functions. It's characterized by difficulties, in varying degrees, with communication, social interaction and repetitive behaviors.

...The Tommy Foundation ...raises public awareness of autism and provides autism training for parents and college students, who then help children with autism.

Autism-friendly events for families ...are another foundation initiative.

The foundation also ...offers online support around the clock...

...Cruz-Everts said [this event] is the foundation's biggest event and its leading fundraiser. Saturday's event surpassed its $50,000 goal but a final figure was not immediately available.

The [event] -- described as the largest autism event in southcentral Pennsylvania -- addresses awareness, action and acceptance, Cruz-Everts explained.

Participants started the day by going on a 2.5K-walk around the park and surrounding neighborhood to raise awareness of autism.

When they returned, a dozen or so service providers were there to inform parents what actions they can take to get help in the community for their children.

The third part was the festival, where children had fun with crafts, face painting and other activities in an atmosphere of acceptance and safety while their parents renewed old friendships and socialized.

...[Susan], who works as a personal care assistant for [an education service agency] appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with friends.

That's a big reason why she came back to the annual event Saturday for the fifth or sixth year.

"I don't always get to see these people," said [Susan]. "You get so busy, it's hard to get out. So something like this is really cool, to bring us all out together and do some fun stuff."
Here is a link to a video from the Tommy Foundation from earlier this year: https://www.facebook.com/thetommyfou...=2&theatre


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 8th, 2017 at 10:16 AM.
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Old December 29th, 2016, 07:26 AM   #659
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

Supporting Autism and Families Everywhere (SAFE) is a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania-based local nonprofit that helps people with Autism. The nonprofit provides support, information and a variety of programs designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with Autism, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders...
Quote:
...Hazleton Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi proclaimed April as Autism Awareness Month in Hazleton.

Local businesses and organizations are getting on board by participating in the corresponding 'Light It Up Blue' promotion for autism awareness, and many will donate portions of their sales to SAFE.

The idea for the promotion and proclamation grew from a blue bracelet sale Crystal Hartley of Drums was holding for national Autism Awareness Month. Hartley, whose 5-year-old son has autism, reached out to her friend, Jeannine Lesante Mazurkiewicz, to see whether she could help.

Lesante Mazurkiewicz, of SamSon Productions and SSPTV, sent emails to friends, businesses and organizations.

"It just took off," Lesante Mazurkiewicz said of the support.

Hartley is pleased for the local support because she usually has to travel to autism events, or has only been able to do small fundraisers.

Dolphus Teart, executive director of SAFE, said the Hazleton area's support will help strengthen the organization. The community has been helpful in the past by lending its support to SAFE Autism Walks held at the Hazleton Area High School track.

...Representatives from Hazleton POWER! are helping to spread the word about 'Light It Up Blue.'

Jocelyn Rizzo, POWER!'s executive director, said, "I have seen how autism can change the lives of families and I have seen the toll that ignorance can take on those families," she said. "This is a cause that I, and many others in POWER!, feel passionate about and we will do anything we can to support them. I'm excited to work together with other businesses in our area to help bring awareness to the families dealing with an autistic child. We're here to help build them up."

To find participating businesses, visit the Facebook sites for POWER! or the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce.

To donate to SAFE, contact SAFE at 275 Mundy St., Suite 201, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702 or visit www .autismsafe.org.

Students in the Tamaqua Area School District are participating in their own 'Light It Up Blue' event today by decorating the high school in blue and by dressing in blue.

In addition, students in the autism support classroom have campaigned for recognition and understanding.

Also, Hayden Tower at the Markle in downtown Hazleton will provide a visual reminder of Autism Awareness Month with blue lights in its front windows from the seventh to 11th floors, according to Lesante Mazurkiewicz.
Here is a link to a video from the nonprofit from over three years ago:


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Old January 20th, 2017, 08:32 AM   #660
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

Parents Loving Children Through Autism (PLCTA) is a Scranton, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that aims to to provide a place where each child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder will be accepted. Through its social clubs and monthly trips, the nonprofit hopes to help develop social interactions...
Quote:
When John and Lori Stedina found out Lori was pregnant with twins, the couple never imagined one of their children would have a developmental disorder.

"It's something you never think about," Mr. Stedina said.

Their son, Tyler, was born with hyperinsulinism, a condition where high amounts of insulin cause low blood sugar, but he grew out of it by the time he was eight-months-old. For the next year, he and his sister Emily passed all of the age-appropriate milestones...

"He was seen by a neurologist. That's why I thought everything was okay," she said.

However, around 18-months-old, Tyler started withdrawing and lost many of the words he was once able to say, said Mrs. Stedina, noting that he was able to say the words "mommy" and "daddy" but it "all started to go away." Tyler was later diagnosed with classic autism with regression. Now at age 10, Tyler is non-verbal, which means he does not speak.

...After Tyler's diagnosis... the Dunmore family found Parents Loving Children Through Autism, a local organization dedicated to helping families with autistic children. The foundation helps children with all different forms of autism by giving them opportunities to experience social settings.

"Autism is a very isolating disorder. We want to combat that with social groups," Kathleen Walsh, president and founder of PLCTA, said.

PLCTA hosts social groups for families and kids.
...The groups make trips to the Electric City Plaza, formerly the Ice Box, and Roba Family Farms. They visit restaurants, bowl, swim and work with local movie theaters to hold special screenings for the foundation. Since many kids with autism are hyperactive, it can be difficult to take them to a movie. Without PLCTA's trips, the Stedinas would have never known what it was like to take Tyler to a movie, Mrs. Stedina said.

"We bring life experiences to the children," Mrs. Walsh said.

Every year, PLCTA holds the Walk for Autism Awareness at Nay Aug Park. This year, the walk will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Registration is $15 and registered walkers will receive a T-shirt, while supplies last.

...Mr. Stedina continues to be the chair for every walk.

The event is meant to raise awareness and educate others about autism. The money raised from the fundraiser benefits the foundation's activities for kids and their families. All of the activities are free to the children, so families don't have to worry about money, Mrs. Stedina said.

In its eighth year, the walk has grown exponentially since its beginnings. The first walk had about 200 walkers, Mr. Stedina estimates. "It was a lot of friends and family who sponsored our first walk," Mrs. Stedina said.

Today, there are more than 2,000 pre-registered walkers and PLCTA is anticipating even more the day of the walk.

"To have 2,000 already registered is just amazing," Mrs. Stedina said.

In the years since the first walk, a free picnic for all walkers and more children's activities have been added, Mr. Stedina said.

In addition, there will be basket raffles, face painting, moon bounces and games for walkers. There will also be autism information booths.

"We have a celebration of our families and our common goal," said Mr. Stedina.

Mrs. Stedina, who works with families new to the foundation, said she wants to help those families who are just learning about autism, because she understands what is like to be uninformed.

"Until you talk to another parent, you really don't know what is out there," she said.

...If you go
What: 8th Annual Walk for Autism Awareness
When: Saturday, April 16 at 11 a.m.
Where: Nay Aug Park
Details: Registration begins at 9 a.m. Adults $15, children under 18 are free. Registered walkers receive a T-shirt, while supplies last. Post-walk picnic free to all walkers...
Here is a link to photos of PLCTA's 9th Annual Walk for Autism Awareness at Nay Aug Park in Scranton, Pennsylvania, from almost five years ago: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...7327075&type=3


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