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Old February 9th, 2017, 09:05 AM   #661
Visionary7903 Male
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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.

4 Paws for Ability is a Greene County, Ohio-based nonprofit that enriches the lives of children with various challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, by training and placing quality, task-trained service dogs. This provides increased independence for the children, including in other areas like Pottsville, Pennsylvania...
Quote:
Matthew Peleschak is a cute 8-year-old boy with big plump cheeks and a love for his ipad and playing with a toy-slot machine with his little brother and sister

But despite that their brother is older, playing with him can be difficult.

And to show that the family loves Matthew, they're trying to get him a dog to help him. they've teamed up Four Paws For Ability, a nonprofit that provides trained dogs to children who live with disabilities. The average cost for a dog is about $22,000, of which, 7-thousand must be fundraised.

The dog would basically serve as both his best friend and guardian angel. It will help him live an independent life.

And to get the dog, the family is fundraising. They're selling handbags, marykay makeup and t-shirts online, local schools donate dress down day money to them, and even local resurants are helping out with penny jars

So far, the family has about $2,000, but thay piggy bank is quickly growing...
Here is a link to a video of the guide dog interacting with the above-mentioned boy and his family: https://www.facebook.com/matthew4paw...5723835024972/


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 11th, 2017 at 11:48 AM.
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Old February 11th, 2017, 11:50 AM   #662
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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 Schuylkill County Autism Society (SCAS) is a Orwigsburg/Frackville, Pennsylvania based nonprofit that has helped make life a little easier for those dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the county for the past decade. The nonprofit's goal is to provide information, support and resources to individuals with autism and autism spectrum disorders, their families, professionals and community awareness activities, education and research...
Quote:
Several parents gathered Sunday to "compare scores," but everyone was a winner at the sixth annual Sensory Picnic hosted by the [SCAS].

"When parents of autistic kids get together, there's often a lot of sharing stories like someone learned how to ask for something or quoted something correctly or wash up on their own," Sasha Eidinov, Pottsville, said. "These are like our baseball scores. It may not seem like much, but it's the little accomplishments."

Eidinov was one of about 70 people - parents and children - who attended the picnic...

Judy Barket, society president and picnic organizer, said the event was held to allow children to meet some of their peers, socialize and experience new things.

"There were several interactive stations that allowed the children to get to do things that they might not otherwise do on their own," Barket said.

Jessica Mennig, Pottsville, a society board member, was responsible for a tie-dying station that she called an educational opportunity mixed with fun.

"It's stimulating and allows for color recognition and honing of fine motor skills," Mennig said.

Barket said the picnic, like other events and meetings the society holds, helps to foster a community.

"This allows parents to network and talk about common daily hurdles that we have," Barket said.

Jim ...Pfeiffenberger [and his wife], Pottsville, said that was one of the most important parts of the day for their family.

"It helps us to get ideas and exchange ideas, learn what might have worked for someone that may work for our child," [Mrs.] Pfeiffenberger said.

Mennig also said the more relaxed and informal atmosphere of the picnics, compared to society meetings, was helpful.

"They can relax, they can meet others and just socialize a little more naturally," Mennig said.

Eidinov ...thinks events like this help parents come together and celebrate their children.

"Everybody loves their kids," Eidinov said. "It's a great day for all of us to know we're not alone. We're not the only ones."

The society meets monthly...
Here is a link to photos of the SCAS' annual sensory picnic from over six years ago: republicanherald.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?iframe=1&event=1085068&CategoryID=52561/


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 12th, 2017 at 10:49 AM.
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Old February 16th, 2017, 12:11 PM   #663
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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 Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, based in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, is a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate, educate, and provide services and support for people with various challenges, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties has hosted a 'Wings for Autism' event for the past couple of years...
Quote:
Families of autistic children will have an opportunity next month to practice air travel without ever leaving the ground.

The Arc of Northampton and Lehigh counties partnered with Lehigh Valley International Airport and Allegiant Air to organize "Wings for Autism." It's geared toward autistic children...

The event is based on a pilot program developed by the Arc of the United States and completed at large hubs across the country, including Logan International Airport in Boston, according to Bruce Seidel, development director for Arc of Lehigh and Northampton counties.

In planning since last November, Wings for Austism will be held May 9, and the program was at capacity within a day or two after registration opened, Seidel said. The event was limited to about 240 participants because it involves boarding a jet, he said.

Airline travel, particularly the lengthy security check process, is something that those with [various challenges including Autism Spectrum Disorders] can find very challenging, often preventing families from traveling, Seidel said. The Wings for Autism event will allow families to simulate the process of air travel, he said.

Families are scheduled to arrive at the Allegiant ticketing desk at 9 a.m. to begin the process. From there, they will go through a regular security screening process and make their way through the terminal.

Passengers will board an airplane that will taxi down a runway, offering as complete an experience as possible, Seidel said.

The event will include more than 40 volunteers to assist families along the way, offering information on how to handle certain situations. It could be something simple a family never considered, such as bringing along headphones to combat the noise associated with takeoff, Seidel said.

"In the event they plan to travel, this gives them real-life experience about where their family member, who has a disability, has trouble along the trail," he said.

There are many "moving parts" in organizing an event like this, and organizers are just trying to get through the first one, Seidel said. But based on the tremendous interest in this event, Arc is already considering a second program, he said.

Alexis Harvey is a program manager at KidsPeace, overseeing the organization's autism services.

Airline travel can be a hassle for the average person, considering the sometimes long lines and security checks, Harvey said. But the challenges are amplified for someone on the autism spectrum, she said.

"When they're out of their routine or do something that don't understand or don't know what to expect, it can be very anxiety filling," Harvey said.

Many on the autism spectrum have a sensitivity to sound or light, making a trip through the airport daunting with bright halogen lights in a large open space and the echoing public address system, Harvey said. And once on the plane the sound of the engines kicking in can be quite stressful, she said.

A working theory about autism is that those affected establish order and routine in their day-to-day activities, which gives them some control over their lives, according to Harvey. Travel easily upsets that order.

Harvey said she works with many families, for instance, who have difficulty in transitioning their autistic children to school because they are going from the comfort and security of their home environment to new surroundings.

Someone with autism can have difficulty processing basic day-to-day functions, such as standing in lines and interacting with strangers, Harvey said. A typically developing child will watch their parents and siblings to pick up social cues, while autistic children will often be described as being aloof or in their own world, she said.

"We take for granted that our kids just naturally learn," Harvey said.

As with most parents, Harvey said she can just give her 3-year-old a disapproving look and communicate without words.

"He knows what that look means," she said. "But if you do that same thing for a child on the spectrum, they won't necessarily even be looking at my face to get that clue."

Being able to discern the look of a displeased parent requires the ability to infer, something an autistic child is not developing, Harvey said.

Some families simply opt not to go on vacations because it's outside a child's routine, Harvey said. Sometimes they choose to stay with family or they find places with a focus on special needs, she said.

"This is certainly the first hurdle for a family planning to travel," Harvey said.

And as beneficial as the program can be for families hoping to travel, Harvey believes it can be equally as important for airport staff in learning how to handle autistic children.

As the Lehigh Valley continues to evolve and become more diverse, programs like next month's Wings for Autism can lend to that growth, Seidel said. As large employers, for instance, recruit to the area, that may include families of children with a developmental disability, he said.

"In the consideration process for accepting a job here, a big factor is what kind of community am I moving to," Seidel said. "What services and programs are available?"...
Here is a link to a video on the nonprofit's 'Wings for Autism' event from a couple of years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3BNCM2EWrQ/


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 17th, 2017 at 10:27 AM.
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Old February 18th, 2017, 11:26 AM   #664
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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.

Dragonfly Forest is a Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that provides overnight camping experiences for children with various challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. The nonprofit provides a full Autism Summer Program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders...
Quote:
Last summer, 8-year-old Scott Jones was nervous about going to sleep away camp for the first time?especially about being away from his mom. But after a week filled with swimming, boating, hiking, ...games, and arts and crafts at Dragonfly Forest camp in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Scott had such a great time that he wanted to go back the next week--and the one after that.

This type of experience is just what the camp aims to give: one where kids with disabilities, including those with autism, like Scott, can enjoy an unforgettable week. "Generally speaking, when you ask people about their most favorite memories, they're not in therapy, or school, or in the classroom," says Sylvia van Meerten, the camp's program director. "Their favorite memories are when they were intentionally pulled away from life to have fun. We're here to do just that--give them a week based on fun."

Founded in 2001, Dragonfly Forest offers free summer sessions ...and in TK year expanded to provide a session for children on the autism spectrum as well...

Now, the yearly session attracts nearly 200 campers, on all ranges of the spectrum, from Pennsylvania and neighboring states. (And the program is quickly expanding to include after-school sessions...)

The staff takes pride when visitors say it looks like a 'regular camp,'...

The camp includes facilities you would find at many traditional camps: dorm-style housing, a 14-acre lake, a rope elements course, a zip line, tennis courts, hiking trails, a gym, and an arts and theater center.
But the staff does take measures to make sure Dragonfly Forest is well suited to kids on the spectrum. The key: to relieve their anxiety in social situations, says van Meerten. Kids with autism have a hard time picking up social cues and predicting what will happen next, which can make them anxious and nervous, she explains. "A typical person would feel anxious in a different culture where things don't make sense," van Meerten explains. "Kids with autism feel like that all the time in everyday life."
To alleviate this stress, the staff provides information booklets before camp starts, sticks to schedules, and offers detailed explanations before every activity and meals so campers know what to expect. (Van Meerten even gave out her personal email to answer last-minute questions before the start of the session.)
Counselors, who are trained each summer for four to seven days, are assigned to an individual camper for the session, with a counselor/camper ratio of 2:1...

And it's not just the kids' stress that Dragonfly hopes to relieve--the program is free in an effort to ease the financial burden for families.

...And possibly the biggest plus of all: Once camp is over, the kids head home with a newfound sense of confidence and independence...

Case in point: Scott wouldn't try the zip line at a friend's house before Dragonfly. After conquering the zip line over the summer, the family added a mini-zip line to the backyard. "[Scott] is the kind of kid that hangs back and assesses the situation," his mother Rebecca says. "His hang-back time is a little bit shorter now."
Here is a link to a video from Dragonfly Forest from last year:


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 19th, 2017 at 07:09 AM.
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Old February 19th, 2017, 07:14 AM   #665
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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.

Milagre Kids School is a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that provides 1:1 individualized instruction to children with various challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. 'Milagre' is an acronym for Motivational Intensive Learning Approaches Giving Real Education...
Quote:
For the parent of an autistic child, progress can be defined in something as simple as an adjective. For Barbara Kuzmick, it was hearing her 8-year-old son, Michael, ask for a taco chip.
"He has very limited verbal communication. If he wanted to eat a snack, he would ask for a chip or cookie. Now he can identify the type of chip or cookie," noted the Ridley Township resident whose son was diagnosed with autism at age 15 months.
Kuzmick said she has seen the difference in her son since he became one of two students enrolled in Milagre Kids School, an educational facility for autistic children in grades 1 [and over] ...that opened Jan. 2...
It is the first school in Delaware County for autistic children that exclusively utilizes applied behavior analysis and applied verbal behavior teaching methods in an academic environment, said lead teacher and Educational Director Crystal Wenzel.
"It's a behavioral approach to education not at the forefront in a typical school setting," noted the 36-year-old resident of the Woodlyn section of Ridley Township.
Wenzel has worked with autistic children for 14 years in home settings through the Devereux Childhood Autism and Research Education Services in Chester County and through the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, where she ran a model classroom for the Pennsylvania Verbal Behavior Project.
"The No. 1 thing they do need is structure and routine with appropriate reinforcement strategies built in to make the child most successful," said Wenzel.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in special education from West Chester University and is studying to become a board-certified associate behavior analyst.


Milagre Kids School will host an open house 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 3 at its south campus...
About two years ago, Wenzel was tapped to be part of the Milagre planning committee...

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurobiological affliction of unknown origin. ...Communication and social interaction skills are often affected.
Kitty Lugar, assistant director for special programs at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, said the unit has provided autistic support services for about 20 years. The unit is currently educating about 300 autistic students ranging in age from 3 to 21, not counting students who receive support services within their own school districts.
"It keeps increasing, especially the younger ages with earlier identification of preschoolers. The diagnostic techniques are increasingly sophisticated, too," noted Lugar.

...Milagre is an acronym for Motivational Intensive Learning Approaches Giving Real Education, but it is also Portuguese for "miracle,"...
Cuce is now president and Koch is vice president of Milagre, which is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and recently attained 501c(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt status.
The "north campus" opened ...in Harleysville, Montgomery County, last September and has two students, with a third one expected to enroll shortly. The "south campus" is at Marcus Hook Baptist Church.
School is in session year-round, with Fridays off from July 7 through Aug. 21. Classes are from 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Fridays.
One teacher and three assistants are available for every five students at the Milagre south campus, which is licensed by the state to have a total of 16 students, said Wenzel.

..."We have a very motivational base with lots of positive behavioral-support strategies," said Wenzel. "We want them to have fun learning."
After completing a hard task, the student may then engage in an activity he enjoys, such as watch a video, eat a snack or read a book.
"We work and play in the same place," noted Wenzel...
Here is a link to a video on the school:


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 20th, 2017 at 11:26 AM.
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Old February 20th, 2017, 11:46 AM   #666
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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.

To the east, Autism Delaware is a Newark, Delaware-based nonprofit, advocacy organization devoted to serving people and families affected by Autism. It serves the entire state through offices in Newark, Lewes and Milford...
Quote:
Autism Delaware's 10th anniversary celebration of the Walk for Autism begins on April 16 at Cape Henlopen State Park...

Walk for Autism organizers hope to attract 800 walkers... who, at the start of the celebration, will walk to the Cape Henlopen State Park parade field to form the world's largest human puzzle piece image for entry into The Guinness Book of World Records. The puzzle piece currently stands as a symbol of autism.

The funds raised at the Walk for Autism support Autism Delaware's statewide programs and services, which address the range of services that people on the spectrum need to live full lives as valued members of their communities.

"The ...walk seeks to promote and highlight services in Kent and Sussex Counties, such as family support, adult employment and community resources, advocacy at both the state and local levels, and awareness," said Autism Delaware executive director Teresa Avery. "To meet the growing need in southern Delaware and around the state, we need to continue to grow. The goal for our 10th anniversary is $220,000."

As a celebration as well as a fundraiser, Autism Delaware?s Walk for Autism will create a fun zone where hands-on crafts are offered to children. Next door to the fun zone, the newest and latest in products and services especially for individuals and families affected by autism will be on display, and a well-maintained picnic area will invite walk participants to enjoy their box lunches from home or their purchases from food trucks open for business in the park.

This celebration is made possible by Autism Delaware's sponsors, including Horizon Services. the Brandywine Center for Autism, C-Ink, Beebe Healthcare, Sharp Energy, and Kevin Thawley Remax Above & Beyond...
Here is a link to a video from Autism Delaware from a couple of years ago:

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